May 2018 Newsletter

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Making Living Wages Work

May 2018

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Back in 1968, the minimum wage was set at $1.60. That is equivalent to $11.76 in today’s dollars, which is well above today’s minimum wage level and an all-time high when adjusted for inflation.
PolitiFact, May 22 Truth-o-Meter




Chapel Hill Creamery BUYcott, Saturday June 2

Orange County Living Wage buycotts a living-wage-certified employer each quarter. In June we’ll buycott Chapel Hill Creamery, an award-winning producer of fresh and aged cheeses and whey-fed pork. Find this awesome employer at Carrboro Farmer’s Market or Eno River Farmer’s Market in Hillsborough on Saturday morning, June 2, and purchase their delicious cheeses, tasty meats, and more. Be sure to buy extra, in support of living wages and the people who make them work!


10 New Employers on our Living Wage Roster

OCLW’s roster continues to grow, nearing 160 certified employers paying living wages to all full- and part-time staff. Our newest employers include Summit Design and Engineering Services, Panciuto, Vine Veterinary Hospital, Chapel Hill Advanced Dentistry, The Little School, Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry, Carrburritos Taqueria, Team Armand @ Coldwell Banker HPW, Charles House Association, and Mosaic Comprehensive Care. For descriptions and locations of all Orange County living-wage-certified employers, go here.


Carrburritos Taqueria is Living Wage Certified!

As a teen and college student Rae Mosher often worked at her parents’ beloved Carrburritos Taqueria on W. Rosemary Street. But when she chose her first career, teaching literature beat out wrapping burritos. Rae spent 12 productive years as a high school English teacher, with “no desire to work in the restaurant business.”

Then her parents, Gail and Bill Fairbanks, decided their tenure was up at Carrburritos, and Rae could not stand by and watch the restaurant close. “I felt a real responsibility for keeping it going.”

Rae is now doing just that. In 2017, she took over as General Manager, but “only because it is Carrburritos,” the vibrant taqueria that locals have depended on for 21 years for fresh, fast, and consistently delicious Mexican fare.

Carrburritos' line cook / cashier, Amy Parlier, and manager Michael Richardson

About her career switch, Rae says that “at first, I was kind of cocky about it. If I can handle 140 13-year-olds, I thought I could manage a restaurant.” She found “a steeper learning curve” to actually running a restaurant – even one she knew well from two decades of family involvement.

For starters, her staff of 23 aren’t students. “These are adults, and I’m not the automatic authority,” she says. Yet Rae falls back on how she thrived as a teacher, by “having a one-on-one relationship with people and knowing what they want.”

In her year as manager, Rae hasn’t made huge changes to Carrburritos’ menu, but she has seen good results with her newly introduced Kids’ menu (“Small Bites” offerings) and with her Friday specials, including moles and tingas.

Rae will continue to stay true to what her parents built and what her customers love, while evolving the menu in fun and interesting ways. When asked for final tips on being a good employer, she has one additional word of advice: “Parties.”

“Throw a big party for your employees once a year!”

Bring your parties of friends and family often to Carrburritos Taqueria, where the burritos are grande, the margaritas are flowing, and the living wages are certified!


IndyWeek Best of the Triangle Finalists

Big congratulations to 25 certified living wage employers selected as finalists in IndyWeek’s annual Best of the Triangle poll. They are truly The Best!


Reaching Employers Aspiring to Certify with Help

OCLW’s REACH program got off the ground on Monday, May 14, at Carrboro Town Hall with a dynamic discussion between aspiring and currently certified living wage employers. Attending as our first group of REACH partner businesses were owners and managers representing Flyleaf Books, Fifth Season Gardening, Johnny’s Gone Fishing, and Bagel Bar. Living-wage-certified employers included Glasshalfull, Mystery Brewing, Orange County ABC Stores, and Marcoplos Construction.

The Stuart B. Bethune REACH program aims to engage employers in an ongoing dialogue about the challenges of making payroll amidst the pressures of running a business. Our dialogues hope to bring useful strategy and targeted support to positively impact REACH employers and allow for living wage certification in the future. Consider making a donation in memory of Stuart Bethune – an OCLW founder and an unwavering advocate for living wages – to help make living wages work in more places!


Wage and Prosperity News 

An insightful column from Inc. contributor Dustin McKissen, who says: “As a business owner, I opposed a higher minimum wage. Here’s the study that changed my mind.”

The study that changed his mind comes from United Way’s ALICE project. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Challenged, Employed.

PolitiFact applies its Truth-o-Meter to the question: is the minimum wage worth less now than 50 years ago?

Finally, here’s a recommendation from Susan Romaine on a book that “gets to the heart of what we are all about: paying people enough so they don’t need to rely on a crazy patchwork of hunger relief organizations.”

Big Hunger: The Unholy Alliance Between Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups takes a look at income inequality as one of the root causes of hunger and a living wage as a way to not just manage but ultimately end hunger in America.


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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 © 2018 Orange County Living Wage. All rights reserved.


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