March 2019 Newsletter

 

Making Living Wages Work
March 2019 Newsletter
 

Certified Employers Recognized at Hillsborough/Orange Chamber of Commerce Gala

Living wage-certified employers earned some well-deserved recognition at the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Gala and Awards Ceremony, held on March, 2019.  Tiffany Barber, owner of Hillsborough Pharmacy & Nutrition, won the 2018 Small Business Person of the Year Award.  She was nominated by peer members of the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce.  Barber says the award came as a surprise when we visited her shortly after she won, but early in our conversation it was obvious how much she cares about her workers and creating a more just economy.  Since she opened the pharmacy, she has prioritized paying her employees a living wage so they can, in her words, “live happy and healthy lives”. She didn’t want her employees to worry about having to take on a second job to have a higher income, and also wanted to avoid some of the unhappiness and high turnover she saw while working for years in a big chain before opening her pharmacy.“I want my employees to be like family,” she said.  “They’re part of the community, and small businesses are all about community.  We have to treat workers appropriately.” We think so too.

Congratulations also to Ronda Tucker, Director of the living wage-certified Burwell School Historic Site in Hillsborough, for winning the 2018 Helping Hand Award.  OCLW’s Certification Coordinator, Rachel Mehalek, was also nominated for the award. Thank you for all you do!

Living Wage Roster Grows to 180 Employers

We’ve now certified 180 living wage employers in Orange County, and several more are in the pipeline.  The newest additions to our roster include Sofia’s Boutique,  Greene Hunt Inc., Berkshire Chapel Hill, Superior Home Management, Human Kindness Foundation, Youth Community Project, Wellsport Bodyworksand Actual Size Builders.  12 employers also met our criteria for recertification so far this year, which they can apply for every two years after their initial living wage certification.  You can find the most up-to-date roster of our certified employers here.  Let’s continue to support them as our community grows!

Bill Introduced to Raise NC Minimum Wage to $15 by 2024

On Tuesday, March 19, North Carolina lawmakers joined Raising Wages NC — a coalition of workers groups, advocates, business, and faith leaders — to introduce legislation that gradually raises the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024.  House Bill 366, “Raising Wages for NC Workers,” would also end the subminimum wage for persons with disabilities and phase it out for tipped workers. It would now cover agricultural and domestic workers, two groups that have historically been excluded from wage protections.  About a third of workers in North Carolina currently earn less than federal poverty-level wages, which is the second-worst in the nation.

The federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, has not changed in 10 years.  The federal minimum wage for tipped workers -- $2.13 an hour -- has not changed since 1991.  21 states, along with Washington, D.C., will see raises in their minimum wages this year.

Follow Us on Instagram!

We’ve added an Instagram account to our social media cadre to showcase our growing community!  Follow us at oc_livingwage, the same handle as our Twitter account.  We’re posting photos of certified employers and stories on living wages, and we invite followers to tag photos of our logo when they spot it around Orange County.  We want to highlight the people and places that are doing such important work in our community by building a living wage economy. Feel free to send photos or story ideas for Instagram to Emily Spangenberg, OCLW’s Communications Coordinator, at emily@orangecountylivingwage.org.  

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, Aparna Jonnal, Mark Marcoplos, Rachel Mehalek, Susan Romaine, Ariane Sanders, Emily Spangenberg, and Jim Wald.

Copyright © 2017 Orange County Living Wage, All rights reserved.

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