May 2017 Newsletter

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Making Living Wages Work May 2017

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April was a busy month, with Orange County Living Wage certifying two new living wage employers and recertifying 18 previous employers. OCLW rebooted our social media and we were interviewed on WCHL with Jim Wald from Glasshalfull. On Earth Day Saturday, we BUYcotted Rise Carrboro, Grey Squirrel Coffee, and Coastal Federal Credit Union.

We can’t take credit for the lines outside RISE during our BUYcott. Because Saturday mornings at RISE are officially a thing. OCLW volunteers shared information with more than 200 customers, without delaying a single biscuit. Thanks to all BUYcotters and BUYcottees for a fun, productive morning.

Latino Community Credit Union:
Living Wage Employer
of the Month

Many organizations set out to make people’s lives better. Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU) began banking to save lives.

In 2000, Latinos in Durham were being robbed for easy cash in a wave of muggings. Gabriel Treves, Development and Community Affairs Senior Specialist at LCCU, described how people would work, get paid, cash checks, and become targets. “They were seen as walking ATMs,” he explained. “It became a serious problem.”

Four Durham groups – The Support Center, El Centro Hispano, NC State Employees’ Credit Union, and Self-Help Credit Union – worked together to create Latino Community Credit Union. The credit union's mission was to provide a safe place for Latinos to save money, access credit, and build wealth. Now, with 12 branches across the state, including one at Carrboro Plaza, LCCU has assembled an impressive array of services to help members enter the financial mainstream and thrive.

“As a not-for-profit, member-owned credit union, we are here to empower members,” said Treves, who clarified that LCCU is not just for the Latino community. Statewide, they have 68,000 members from 122 different countries. LCCU’s members, 65% of whom are previously unbanked, are often newcomers. But they’re also longtime residents whom Treves described as “looking for an ethical financial institution that invests locally.”

LCCU members often start with a small loan, which they pay back before moving to a bigger loan. The first loan might buy tools to start a business; the next loan could be for a car, while another loan may finance a house. “Our goal,” said Treves, “is to keep operating costs low and put money back into the community.”

Treves said LCCU employees appreciate the value they add to people’s lives locally. So it’s important, Treves said, “that we treat our employees right. The living wage is just a start. We offer good benefits and we match contributions to 401k retirement accounts. And, half of our leadership positions are held by women.”

Latino Community Credit Union is rooted in community, with a mission of local impact, opportunity, and investment. Paying a living wage is a great way to invest in employees who put money to work close to home.

For information on Latino Community Credit Union’s banking services and financial workshops, go to

Now tweeting at @oc_livingwage

This spring, bunnies hop, birds chirp, and OCLW tweets. If you or your organization is on Twitter, would you follow and retweet us? It’s a simple way to build momentum for our message and mission. Your support will help certify more living wage employers. Please find us today on Twitter at @oc_livingwage or on Facebook at Orange County Living Wage.

Living Wage Employers in the News

Eight – count ‘em, eight! – living wage employers are finalists in the WCHL People’s Choice Awards: Auto Logic, Bonneville Electric, Carrboro Plumbing, Compass Center for Women and Families, TABLE, Vimala’s Curryblossom Café, Weaver Street Market, and Weaver Street Realty.

And, four living wage employers are finalists in the Chapel Hill Carrboro Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards: Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, Inter-Faith Council for Social Service, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, and Morinaga America Foods.

Congratulations to all! Winners in both categories will be announced May 19 at the Business Excellence Awards at the Paul Green Theatre in Chapel Hill.


Download Our App

We now have an Android app to connect you to living wage employers in Orange County. From your Android phone, open the Play Store and search for “orange county living wage.” Choose the Orange County Living Wage app from the results, hit install, and you're done. You can also click the button below to go straight to the app on the Play Store.


Living Wage Roster:
Strong and Growing

We are delighted to welcome our newest certified living wage employers: Grimball Jewelers and Bridge II Sports. Grimball Jewelers is a full service jeweler in Chapel Hill specializing in repair and restoration, custom design, appraisals and more. Bridge II Sports offers a full range of sports to accommodate multiple disabilities. They are sponsors for the Valor Games Southeast 2017, a competition for disabled veterans and all disabled members of the Armed Forces. Please find these employers on our website and in our community.

Our complete list of 118 living wage employers is here. Support local businesses who are making living wages work. Bring them your business soon!



Would you like to help Orange County Living Wage broaden its impact and outreach throughout the region? We’re looking to staff a table at various events throughout the summer. More volunteers will help us reach more Orange County residents and potential businesses. Email us at if you can help.


Wage News on the Web

On April 26, Senate Democrats proposed legislation (Raise the Wage Act of 2017) that would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024. Two articles from Talk Poverty and EconoFact give perspective.

The following graphic from Statista (and Bureau of Labor Statistics) shows why we need more restaurants paying living wages. Please tweet or email us with your recommendations on Orange County restaurants who might be good candidates for certification.



When you support Orange County Living Wage, you’re saying “yes” to a just economy and enhanced quality of life.  Your monetary assistance will be used for technical support, administrative assistance, informational brochures, framed certificates, car magnets, store window decals, BUYcotts, and more -- all of which are used to promote and sustain living wage employers and employment.

Click here to make a donation that will raise awareness about our voluntary certification program.

Thank you for all of your support in this voluntary effort to promote a living wage in Orange County.
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Orange County Living Wage Steering Committee
Mike Andrews, Susan Attermeier, John Barrow, Kimberly Brewer, Victoria Freeman, Steve Jenks, Chris Lathrop, Mark Marcoplos, and Susan Romaine
Copyright © 2017 Orange County Living Wage, All rights reserved.

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