The Durham Living Wage project aims to improve pay for low income earners

The People’s Alliance Fund (which is apparently related to but independent from the Durham People’s Alliance PAC) has founded the Durham Living Wage initiative to increase the pay of traditionally low income workers.

According to the Herald, they’ve got 28 businesses on board. I can’t find the full list yet, but they dropped some names you’re probably familiar with: Monuts, Fullsteam, Cocoa Cinnamon, etc. The criterion for being a member is:

Our living wage rate is tied to the livable wage rate of Durham County and the City of Durham, which is updated annually. Our 2015 wage rate is $12.33 / hour for individuals without employer-provided health insurance or $10.83 / hour for employees with employer-provided health insurance, or employees reimbursed for at least 50% of their cost of health insurance.

The fund is currently raising money to support the project.

I imagine it’s a difficult line to walk: trying to keep overhead low enough to survive in a competitive industry, while also trying to maximise the benefit you pass on to your employees. I’m reminded of an interview with Monuts co-founder Lindsay Moriarty in the Duke Chronicle in which she discusses (among other things) trying to grow a small business while keeping the well-being of employees in mind from the beginning.

2 thoughts on “The Durham Living Wage project aims to improve pay for low income earners”

  1. It is a fine line. Paying people well hopefully not only benefits the employees, but also the business by having happy, loyal folks keeping your business machine well-oiled. As the owner of 2 small businesses downtown, it’s our biggest struggle, but we feel it’s important and wouldn’t have it any other way (we aren’t part of this initiative, I guess cause I’ve just been too busy to take the time). As rent increases downtown this will be even harder. But I believe it has such an impact in the community.

  2. Jeremy and Jean:
    Thanks for the mention and kind thoughts. We at the Durham Living Wage Project appreciate the commitment of employers and employees to improving lives, strengthening businesses and building an economy that works for all. By raising the wage floor, we hope to bring higher pay in many sectors, even in enterprises that may not qualify for certification. At least seven of our members have raised wages in order to qualify; several have offered rewards or held events to support our crowdfunding campaign to hire a director for what has been an all-volunteer effort.

    Anyone who’d like to help or consider certification for their business or nonprofit can find us at www.

    Dick Chady
    LWP Committee

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