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Orange County Living Wage is a voluntary non-profit 501(c)3 organization founded in August 2015.  Our continuing focus is to promote a living wage in Orange County, North Carolina.  Through our employer certification program we certify Orange County employers that pay their employees a living wage.  The certification is voluntary on the part of employers.


Our goals are to:

  • Reward and recognize employers based in Orange County who pay their workers a living wage
  • Provide employers with incentives to pay a living wage
  • Connect consumers to employers that provide a living wage & encourage them to become customers, patients, clients of those businesses and organizations.  


The Orange County Living Wage project promotes a more just and robust economy in Orange County.  We are modeled after the successful North Carolina project Just Economics, based in Asheville, NC. that has certified more than 400 employers, the most in the USA.

Orange County Living Wage works to advocate for and assist employers as we work together with them to create a more just and sustainable local economy that works for all.  We welcome participation in our work from all members of the community.


LIVING WAGE for workers

A living wage pulls working families out of poverty. Nearly 40% of workers in Orange County earn less than a living wage. As a result, a large portion of county residents are, in fact, working poor. With salaries at or slightly above the minimum wage, each day the working poor in our county are forced to make difficult choices such as buying food or paying rent, filling a prescription or the gas tank.  If these workers earned a living wage rather than the legal minimum of $7.25/hour, many would be lifted out of poverty.


LIVING WAGE for employers

A living wage is good for the bottom line. Turnover falls when employers offer a living wage, and workers who stay tend to be more educated and skilled, says Dr. William Lester, a UNC-Chapel Hill professor who specializes in minimum and living wage research.  Since first paying a living wage, CEOs of Costco, QuikTrip and other employers report a drop in payroll costs due to lower absenteeism and turnover.  Many living wage employers also note better morale, attendance, customer relations, and productivity.  Moreover, Dr. Zeynep Ton of MIT’s Sloan School of Management reports that research in the retail sector shows that for every $1 increase in payroll, a store can achieve a $4 or more increase in monthly sales.

LIVING WAGE for the community

Boosting pay boosts business and the local economy. The states that have raised their minimum wage are adding jobs at a much faster pace than those that did not.  And low-wage workers tend to spend nearly every dollar they earn for basic goods and services, giving a shot-in-the-arm to the local economy.  In fact, every extra dollar going into the pockets of low-wage workers adds $1.21 to the economy.


Orange County Living Wage, Asheville's Just Economics and Durham’s Living Wage project all actively promote a living wage in their communities.  Contact us at for help setting up a similar organization in your area.


Steering Committee


Susan Romaine, Chair

Kimberly Brewer, Vice Chair

Mike Andrews, Treasurer

Susan Attermeier, Secretary

Additional members

Steve Jenks

Mark Marcoplos

John Barrow

Victoria Freeman

Chris Lathrop


Orange County Living Wage     Post Office Box 1502     Carrboro, NC 27510