August 2018 Newsletter


Making Living Wages Work
August 2018

Get your Katharine Whalen Benefit tickets here.


OCLW Benefit Concert Featuring Katharine Whalen’s JazzSquad

On Friday, September 7, OCLW’s Benefit Concert with Katharine Whalen's JazzSquad puts living wages and home-grown talent squarely in the spotlight.

Orange County's own Katharine Whalen brings her JazzSquad to Carrboro's ArtsCenter for an evening in celebration of living wage employers and workers, and the community that supports them.

Katharine is a North Carolina native who has lived in Orange County since high school. She rocketed to fame in the ‘90s with the legendary band, The Squirrel Nut Zippers. Since then, Katharine has continued to evolve her artistry with various projects, including JazzSquad, a side project formed years ago to deepen her musical knowledge and build skills.

“Everything happened so fast [with the Zippers’ fast track to fame]. We were just off and running. I had talent, but I don’t think I really understood music.”

Katharine remembers sharing this sentiment one night, while on tour with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, whose saxophone player had some great advice for her.

“He said, ‘Go home, learn 40 jazz songs, and you won’t feel that way anymore.’ So I went home and learned 40 songs.”

Her JazzSquad got its start with those songs, even touring and releasing “a great little jazz record that is still available online,” says Katharine. These days, JazzSquad is a trio with Robert Griffin on piano, Danny Grewen on trombone, and Katharine on stand-up drum kit and, of course, the voice.

Katharine describes the trio’s recent focus on West Coast jazz (i.e., Chet Baker) and her approach to these tunes. “It’s taken me a while for my voice to mature so I could hold those long, lower, flatter notes. I have to stay calm, ride it out, hold the note … and then hold it a lot longer!”

Join us at The ArtsCenter on Friday, September 7, to see how long Katharine can hold those notes. Onyx Club Boys Duo will open the show with some swinging gypsy jazz tunes.

It’s sure to be a perfect pairing – like living wages and Orange County. Your attendance for this event will certainly help OCLW hold its own financially. Our mission to certify employers and raise wages works because of you. With your financial support, we can reach more employers and raise more wages.

Tickets to the event are $25 and can be purchased here. Also, event sponsorship is tax-deductible and comes with free tickets to the show.

The ArtsCenter is at 300-G East Main Street in Carrboro. Parking is easy and free after 5:30 in the parking deck beside the Hampton Inn. 

Thanks for sponsoring and purchasing your tickets today! We can’t wait to see you in September.  

Nine New Employers on our Living Wage Roster!

OCLW’s roster continues to grow, with over 166 certified employers paying living wages to all full- and part-time staff. Our newest employers include NC Center for Resiliency, Refugee Support CenterTaylor Brauer Realty Group, Sparkle Body Arts, Carolina Ophthalmology Associates, School of Rock Chapel Hill, Franklin Street Realty, Strata Solar, and Fresh Coat Painters of Chapel Hill.

Give these businesses your thanks and your support! For descriptions and locations of all living-wage-certified employers, go here

UNC Employees to Receive Raises

You may have heard the great news that NC’s General Assembly raised the minimum salary for all state employees to $31,200 ($15 hourly). It isn’t yet clear how this wage raise will be implemented throughout the University system. Regardless, living wage supporters were glad to see a July 11 message from the office of the UNC Provost announcing that “University employees earning less than this amount [$31,200] will receive an increase to $31,200.”

 It’s welcome news for Chapel Hill and Orange County – as long as the lowest-paid workers such as cleaning and janitorial staff don’t see their jobs contracted out.

 Go Heels! Raise wages and retain workers’ jobs, benefits, and skills! Everybody benefits.

INDYWeek Offers Discounted Ad Space 
for Living Wage employers

OCLW and the INDY Week newspaper want employers to know about an opportunity to increase the visibility of living-wage-certified employers in the Triangle. As a living-wage-certified employer in Durham, the INDY is dedicated to helping people, businesses, organizations, and the community promote a just and sustainable local economy.

The newspaper is launching a monthly Living Wage Initiative and certified employer advertising page. In this new and ongoing section, a two-page spread will highlight certified living wage employers in Durham and in Orange County and encourage consumers to support local living-wage-certified employers. 

The initial plan is for 10 employers to place a 1/8-page horizontal color ad to run the first week of every month. The INDY asks that participants make a six-month or one-year commitment to this initiative, and they’re offering a deeply discounted rate to living wage employers. 

Normal rates, based on frequency, range from $415-$305. Ads in the new living wage section are offered at $200 per issue.  

Interested employers should contact John Hurld at as soon as possible.

Wage and Prosperity News on the Web

Research from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities describes the volatile and challenging work prospects faced by many SNAP and Medicaid recipients.  

Low-wage workers have won the latest round in the battle between the city of Birmingham and the Alabama state legislature on the city’s legal ability to raise the minimum wage.

Recent reporting from NC Justice Center and the Working Poor Families Project finds that 1 in 8 working families in North Carolina live below the federal poverty level.  

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, Claire Home, Aparna Jonnal, Mark Marcoplos, Susan Romaine, Ariane Sanders
Copyright © 2017 Orange County Living Wage, All rights reserved.

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