A maverick CEO raised the minimum wage at his company to $70K and now he's doing it again
via Twitter / Leo The Dragon King

The federal minimum wage in the United States is a paltry $7.25 and it hasn't gone up since 2009.

"It's not acceptable," Holly Sklar, CEO of the advocacy group Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, told CNBC. "The whole point of the minimum wage is to have it go up regularly. It shouldn't sit still every year when the cost of living is going up. The minimum wage is losing value."

Data shows that in 1968, the federal minimum was equivalent to $10.90 in 2015 dollars, nearly $4 higher than today's rate.

Opponents to an increase in the minimum wage often claim that only teenagers make minimum wage; therefore, there's no need for it to be raised.


However, nothing is further from the truth. According to The New York Times, the average minimum wage earner is is 35, and 88% are at least 20 years old. Half are older than 30, and about a third are at least 40.

via AFL-CIO / Flickr

A low minimum wage keeps people living below the poverty line and increases the need for public assistance.

RELATED: This debate over the minimum-wage is going viral after a blunt commenter set the record straight

According to the Economic Policy Institute, roughly 60% of all workers in the bottom tenth of wage earners (those paid less than $7.42 per hour) receive some form of government-provided assistance, either directly or through a family member.

So basically, the taxpayers are subsidizing employers who refuse to pay workers a living wage.

Back in 2015, Dan Price made headlines for raising the minimum wage at his Seattle-based company, Gravity Payments, to $70,000 a year. It all started after an employee making $35,000 challenged him for paying market rates.

"You brag about how financially disciplined you are, but that just translates into me not making enough money to live a decent life," the employee said.

The move doubled the pay of about 30 of his workers and gave an additional 40 significant raises. After drastically improving his employees pay, productivity and worker retention rates skyrocketed.

RELATED: One viral thread perfectly shares the painful reality of why poorer families buy junk food

"I want the scorecard we have as business leaders to be not about money, but about purpose, impact, and service. I want those to be the things that we judge ourselves on," he said at the time.

Now, Price has done it again.

Three years ago, Price's company acquired ChargeItPro, in Boise, Idaho and it was recently re-branded Gravity Payments. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Price announced that the new Boise office would also have a minimum wage of $70,000.

"This morning we cut the ribbon on the new @GravityPymts Boise office AND announced that all of our employees here will start earning our $70k min salary," Price announced on Twitter. "I'm so grateful to work with this amazing team and to be able to compensate them for the value they bring to our community."

While this sort of generosity seems like nothing more than an outlier story, the idea that the bottom line shouldn't be a company's main focus is gaining some steam.

The Business Roundtable, a group of chief executive officers of nearly 200 major U.S. corporations, issued a statement in August with a new definition of the "purpose of a corporation."

Americans deserve an economy that allows each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity. We believe the free-market system is the best means of generating good jobs, a strong and sustainable economy, innovation, a healthy environment and economic opportunity for all.

It also said:

Investing in our employees. This starts with compensating them fairly and providing important benefits. It also includes supporting them through training and education that help develop new skills for a rapidly changing world. We foster diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect.
From Your Site Articles
Related Articles Around the Web

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

This article originally appeared on 10.23.15


Getting people who don't suffer from anxiety issues to understand them is hard.

People have tried countless metaphors and methods to describe what panic and anxiety is like. But putting it into the context of a living nightmare, haunted house style, is one of the more effective ways I've ever seen it done.

Brenna Twohy delivered the riveting poetic analogy recently in Oakland, starting out by going off about some funny "Goosebumps" plots. It's lovely, funny, sweet, and relatable, and it's totally worth the short time to watch.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."