Orange County Living Wage is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization that certifies, recognizes, and promotes Orange County businesses that pay a living wage and assists workers seeking living wage jobs.
Our board has approved a strategic plan to guide our work over the coming years. Read an overview.
The Lupine School
Chapel Hill, NC
“A living wage is important because all employees make a business possible and should be compensated well for their hard work. It’s a priority for me personally because I truly believe that we don’t value early childhood education in our culture the way we should, and highly trained excellent teachers are imperative for this time of rapid brain growth in children. It’s an incredibly important job to educate our youngest citizens!”
– Director Amy Magrinat
“Our business doesn’t exist without wonderful customers and our hard-working employees. We value our employees’ contributions to the business and the community – plumbers protect the health of our nation! Our employees deserve a living wage so they can support themselves and their families. Living wages support the community as a whole in many ways, one of which is that the employees have more funds to support other local, living wage businesses! It’s a win, win!”
– Emily Kreutzer
Golden Fig Books
“I view a living wage as an excellent starting point for a sustainable business. The federal minimum wage has lagged so far behind inflation, worker productivity, and the cost of living that it is basically meaningless to today’s economic environment. By starting our employees at a living wage, we hope this allows them to lead full lives and take pride in their work without the constant stress that comes with being chronically underpaid.”
– Owner David Bradley
Belltree Cocktail Club
“Living wages mean happy, invested workers, and an amazing work environment. When no one is mad about what they make, there is room for so much more growth and maintenance. Before we raised everyone to [the 2022 living wage of] $15.85 plus tips, my employees still averaged a living wage or above. But now, they make a ‘thriving wage,’ and as a result, so do I, as a partner in the Belltree Cocktail Club. The next you come in to enjoy a Negroni or a glass of wine, I ask that you continue to tip my exceptional team. They deserve it.”
– Owner Nicholas Stroud
Humble Umbel Farm
Hurdle Mills, NC
“I have to give credit to the customers. People are willing to pay what we charge in order to get ourselves to that living wage. … Customers really care about small businesses and local food. And they are willing to put their money where their mouth is.”
– Co-Owner Anna Alexandre
Big Spoon Roasters
“The concept of a living wage means that participating employers are thinking about the health and happiness of their employees beyond the context of what a state or government may require. This is how we need all businesses to operate if we want to have a healthy and equitable society. We support the living wage model because it is based on the real-life needs of families.”
– Co-Founder Mark Overbay
Roquette at Franklin Motors
Chapel Hill, NC
“I don’t think it’s any secret that cooks work long hours in hot kitchens and beat themselves up every shift to get the food out right and on time – and they deserve proper compensation for that.”
– Chef John Smith, pictured with Chef Sarah Smith
Annie Burton – State Farm Insurance
“It is wonderful to have a career that pays a living wage. I have such peace of mind knowing that I have stability in my work and paycheck. I am so thankful for being paid a living wage. Working at Annie Burton State Farm has changed not only my life, but also my family’s life, for the better.”
– Jenna Burgess, a sales and customer service representative. Jenna is pictured (right) with Annie.
“When I started to work at Redeye, the fact that they paid a living wage was a major perk. Having the entry-level pay match the county’s living wage standards reduces some of the stress around paying bills and gives me a bit more money to use on fun things like going to shows. Additionally, Redeye recently adjusted the living wage to keep up with inflation.”
– Liza Riitters, shipping and floor Coordinator
Orange County Living Wage certifies and publicizes businesses and organizations who pay their workers a living wage.
Businesses and organizations voluntarily certify as living wage employers because they believe fair compensation is good for their employees and the local economy. We engage our community in living wage advocacy through consumer campaigns such as “buycotts” of local living wage employers, promotion of certified employers’ events, and recognition of certified employers’ achievements. We promote our certified employers through social and print media and at local events. Our employer directory includes a wide variety of for-profit, nonprofit, and municipal employers.