GET INVOLVED: Help Guitar Center Employees Earn a Fair Wage


There are a surprisingly small amount of musical instrument outlets with the kind of recognition that Guitar Center has been able to develop. It may be easy to joke about the people who frequent their stores and the countless times one’s heard an aspiring guitarist attempt to play “Stairway To Heaven” on a Les Paul they could never afford (or need, given their skill level), but even if that is the case the people who work in these locations – some of whom have even been UTG members in the past – deserve to be fairly compensated for the work they do. Apparently that has not been happening, and now a group of upset employees have launched an online petition hoping to unionize workers in an effort to gain leverage against the company.

In a description posted to the official petition website, which details a plethora of issues facing employees, the group writes:

But there’s been a problem ever since the company was bought by Bain Capital. Now, those of us who are non-sales workers barely get paid more than minimum wage and rarely get raises. Guitar Center doesn’t offer part time workers health benefits and we almost never receive paid sick days or vacation time. The sales workers amongst us used to have decent commissions and benefits but now our commissions have been cut. We also don’t get paid sick days and we can make as little as 7.25/hr. We have ever increasing mandatory sales requirements but we are being forced to do more and more non-sales work that makes it harder to reach those requirements. If we don’t sell enough Pro Coverage (aka “extended warrantees”), our commissions take a hit.

So we decided to come together and address these problems. We are organizing with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and we are asking the company to recognize our union and negotiate for a fair contract. With Bain Capital’s track record, we need your support. Let Bain Capital know you support our right to come together for a fair workplace.

Whether you shop at Guitar Center or not, chances are that you know (or listen to) an aspiring musician who works at one of their many brick and mortar locations. It’s the opinion of our staff that these workers deserve to be more fairly compensated for their efforts, not to mention the amount of poor musicianship they have to suffer through on a weekly basis, and ask that everyone reading this post help get the word out about their struggle. It may not seem like an argument that involves you directly, but even if it doesn’t a similar situation could easily take place at your place of employment one day. If that were to happen, wouldn’t you want to know you had the support of other, sane-minded individuals?

Please, take a few minutes from your day to click here and read about the struggles facing these people.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Kriston McConnell

    I used to work at Guitar Center (I won’t say which) and they were definitely unfair to employees. Especially women. I’m by no means a crazy feminist but they did not have a single female sales rep, all of the women that worked there (3 of us) worked the front desk only. I made $7.50/hr and only worked about 25 hours or so a week until one day they decided to cut all of our hours (front desk only) and then we each were working about 15 hours per week. One day I was 10 or 15 mins late for work, with absolutely no history of being late and I wasn’t in trouble for anything, they took me into the back room and told me they were firing me because I “looked like I didn’t want to be there”. That was it, no warnings, nothing. From what I saw they never replaced me, I feel it was just a way to lay me off without me being able to be eligible for unemployment. Corporate management was full of greedy businessmen, not full of people who understand or care about the needs of musicians or their own employees for that matter.

  • I worked for guitar center for 5 years, some of the worst management exists within this company. Ive come to the conclusion that its full of failed 80’s wanna be rockstars that somehow made it through college to live out there musical dreams, still snorting lines of coke while johnny at store 813 makes 7 dollars for 5 years. I’m glad I don’t work for this company anymore, I work at a much better company now and only for 8 months and I’m making almost 9.00 an hour, they management there is night and day compared to guitar center. I feel bad for these store employees that there playing into a legal pyramid scheme. you have to practically sell your soul and slit your wrists if you wanna make it anywhere in the company, I worked for management that would lie to me and tell me I was a full time employee while I was really part time, and they would strectch my hours and use me all around the store while they dangle the “promotion card’ in front of your face. I’ve seen so many wrongs and so many people walk out of guitar center that its embarrassing and they need to get there shit together cause now its catching up to them. From harassment and a flawed HR department to incompetent wanna be businessmen that cant manage their ways out of paper bags, and these young guys working on minimum wage have to suffer for there failed and lack of respect and responsibility and poor communication.