Press Release: Durham Living Wage Project Reaches New Milestone

100 Local Employers Now Qualify as “Living Wage Certified”

Durham, N.C.The Durham Living Wage Project announced today that 100 local firms have met the requirements to be certified as “living wage employers,” representing a broad array of sectors, from landscaping to restaurants, daycares, breweries and more. These firms are at the forefront of a new movement in Durham that urges employers to pay a living wage, certifies and publicly recognizes employers, and promotes living wages as a matter of conscience within our community. 

According to Matt Kopac, the chair of the Durham Living Wage Project’s steering committee, “Paying a living wage is good for businesses and good for workers. For employers, paying a living wage means they experience lower turnover, benefit from a more motivated workforce, and receive increased goodwill from the community. For employees, a living wage is an opportunity to move from poverty toward meeting basic needs.”

To become certified, firms must pay all employees a living wage rate as defined by the City of Durham’s living wage ordinance, which is updated annually on July 1st. The current wage rate, which holds until June 30, 2017, is $12.53/hour for workers without employer-provided health insurance, or $11.03/hour for workers with employer-provided health insurance (or employees reimbursed for at least 50% of their cost of health insurance).

Leon Grodski de Barrera, the co-founder of Cocoa Cinnamon, one of Durham’s first certified living wage employers, notes that, “participating in the Durham Living Wage Project is one key element in our bigger mission. With the degree of support we get from the people in the Bull City, our business has thrived. Providing a living wage is an ingredient of that good fortune. In a city such as ours, we get even more support because of our values. And people are on board as we strive each day to operate in a way that gets us closer to our ideals. So it is a win win win. We do well in business and our team earns at least a living wage.”

The Durham Living Wage Project’s 100thcertified employer is Eastern Carolina Organics, a farmer-owned cooperative which markets and distributes wholesale Carolina organic farm produce to retailers, restaurants and buying clubs. According to Sandi Kronick , “We believe in a just economy and dignity for all workers, and are grateful for the Durham Living Wage Project to verify that our wages reflect these values.”

The purpose of the Durham Living Wage Project is to promote a just economy where workers are paid fairly, employers are successful, and our community thrives as a result. The Durham Living Wage Project is an initiative of the People’s Alliance Fund and was launched in March 2015. 

For Immediate Release: November 15, 2016
Marta Perrupato, 617-429-2851 

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