October 2017 Newsletter

Click Read More to see our Newsletter from October 2017


Making Living Wages Work october 2017

Click here to make a donation.


“We break bread together as a community.  We are here for the community and because of our community.”
     -Vimala Rajendran
      Curryblossom Cafe


october news

Orange County Living Wage’s certified employers are the stars of our videos on the OCLW Youtube Channel and on our web site. Jeff Hardin created these short and engaging videos in the past year. They show local employers at their businesses talking about why they pay living wages.


With Jeff’s great guidance, OCLW has begun a new series focused on the employees who keep these businesses up and running – and benefit from living wages. The next round of filming is scheduled for November.

Filming at each business takes about an hour, and Jeff makes it easy. He’ll travel to your place of work, set up equipment with minimal fuss, and make folks comfortable. Jeff has a great ear for effective content, and his work reflects well on our certified employers and on living wages.

Do you have any employees who might want to participate? Contact Susan Romaine at susan@orangecountylivingwage.org for more information.

In more media news, WCHL radio station is running a series of public service announcements featuring our living wage employers and employees. Our first two PSAs spotlight Chapel-Hill Carrboro City Schools / Board of Education Chair James Barrett and CHCCS Custodian Roy Wilkins.

Upcoming PSAs will feature Gabriel Treves from Latino Community Credit Union and LCCU Transaction Service Supervisor Thania Herrera.

Employers, please contact us about recording a PSA with WCHL. We’ll help you write a short script, and Kenny Dike at WCHL will shepherd you through the recording process. Send Claire Horne an email at claire@orangecountylivingwage.org and we’ll get you started.

Finally, thanks to Strowd Roses for including Orange County Living Wage in their most recent round of grant funding. We truly appreciate their support and their ongoing efforts to fund a wide variety of meaningful work in Chapel Hill and Orange County.


"when vimala cooks, come eat!"

OCLW recently sat down with Curryblossom Café’s Vimala Rajendran to talk about living wages and the food industry. Vimala is a busy lady, but between helping her staff at lunch and taking a catering order, Vimala gave OCLW some great takeaways on restaurants, wages, and work.


Why does Curryblossom Café pay a living wage? We pay a living wage so living conditions for workers will be decent, the economy in the county can be enriched, and life can be true to American standards. The idea of America is not to just scrape by on minimum wages. 

Why don’t more restaurants pay a living wage? Because it is a profit-oriented culture. Look at the cost of food. Some restaurants go into it knowing that food costs can be tripled when pricing for the consumer. And the restaurant industry has been lobbying for a long time to keep the industry at low wages. So working in restaurants became a transient occupation. Food service should be a career-oriented position, where people have a career ladder and they are making incrementally higher wages. The minimum wage is insulting to humanity. It is not enough to live on.

As a restaurant owner, you’re candid about the challenges of paying living wages, with a substantial payroll to meet each month. For what we make we are spending everything back on the staff. We offer dental care and eye care. We trade our food so our staff can access culture and arts opportunities in town. We haven’t raised some prices in years. We don’t have table service, so we can’t go past $17 or $18 a plate. Sometimes we have to shave off a few hours from the schedule and payroll. But this is a livelihood for people. Living wages have to be looked at from a whole point of view – is it earning them a livelihood, and how much are staff working in total?

What can the community do to support you? When Vimala cooks, come eat. Also we need more people to get their catering from us. I customize our menu for any event, through conversation with the client. Follow our events and music, and let us know what you want to see us do. We break bread together as a community. We are here for the community, and because of our community.

How much do you feel the impact of the large dining services on UNC’s campus? There is enough business for everyone. And, there is no one else like us. We are extremely unique, with deep roots in the community.

OCLW could not agree more. For years, our area has enjoyed Vimala’s award-winning food, served with a strong sense of justice. How do we ensure Curryblossom Café continues? By eating there often and by calling Vimala first for all your catering needs. See her website below for menus, catering, blogs, and events.

As you’re customizing your catering order or eating at the Café, thank Vimala for her commitment to community — and for paying living wages.  

Curryblossom Café



pledge drive still on!

Our campaign to increase consumer support for living wage employers continues!  In fact, it will never stop. But time is limited for our current pledge drive and voucher drawing.

Orange County Living Wage is asking consumers to sign our printed pledge card and take specific actions in support of living wage employers. You can also submit your pledge on our website.

Everyone who signs a pledge by 11/28 will be entered into a drawing for a $250 voucher to be spent with up to 3 of our living wage employers on goods and services, or for a donation.


As always, thanks to our living wage employers, to Orange County residents and consumers for their support, and to the workers who keep our living wage employers up and running!


living wage roster at 131

We are thrilled to announce our most recently certified living wage employers.

Crossfit Homeward

Pediatric Physical Therapy

Happy Tooth Dental Group

Also, we’re pleased to report that many of our initially certified employers, including the following, have re-certified as living wage employers. Our certification spans a two-year time frame. This spring we began the process of re-certifying the employers who came on board in 2015.

So far, the rate of re-certification is high! With your support, we expect it will continue.



Victoria Park Florist

Orange County School System

Please find our complete list of 131 living wage employers here. Bring them your business and your thanks for the important work they do every day in Orange County.


worker and wage news on the web

The Great American Janitor Test tells the stories of two women who clean offices, one for Kodak in the 1980s, the other for Apple, now. The Kodak employee received paid vacation, tuition reimbursement, bonuses – and opportunities. The Apple office cleaner works for a subcontractor. She can’t afford a vacation, she gets no bonuses, and there’s no chance to move up or advance in a career.

We understand why employers, such as our own local school systems, have moved to this model of subcontracting for cleaning services. It saves money. Yet this article makes clear what workers lose when companies shift necessary services into a subcontracting status. Please read, and join with us in our ongoing efforts to address this in our local community.

From the radio show 1A, a Google-made multimillionaire urges his fellow one-percenters to address income equality. Or face the pitchforks. Zillionaire to Other Zillionaires: “Pay up!”

If you haven’t heard the good news, Target will raise their minimum wage to $15 by 2020.  Now if we could just get them certified!

Thank you for all of your support in this voluntary effort to promote a living wage in Orange County.
Like us on Facebook!
OCLW Homepage
Email OCLW
Orange County Living Wage Steering Committee
Mike Andrews, Susan Attermeier, John Barrow, Kimberly Brewer, Victoria Freeman, Claire Home, Chris Lathrop, Mark Marcoplos, Susan Romaine, Ariane Sanders
Copyright © 2017 Orange County Living Wage, All rights reserved.

{{ broadcaster.name }}
{{ settings.site.full_url }}

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.