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
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Working parents have always had the challenge of juggling career and kids. But during the pandemic, that juggling act feels like a full-on, three-ring circus performance, complete with clowns and rings of fire and flying elephants.

With millions of kids doing virtual learning, our routines and home lives have taken a dramatic shift. Some parents are trying to navigate working from home at the same time, some are trying to figure out who's going to watch over their kids while they work outside the home, and some are scrambling to find a new job because theirs got eliminated due to the pandemic. In addition to the logistical challenges, parents also have to deal with the emotional ups and downs of their kids, who are also dealing with an uncertain and altered reality, while also managing their own existential dread.

It's a whole freaking lot right now, honestly.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


via msleja / TikTok

In 2019, the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada instituted a policy that forbids teachers from participating in "partisan political activities" during school hours. The policy states that "any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered."

The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

This new policy caused a bit of confusion with Jennifer Leja, a 7th and 8th-grade teacher in the district. She wondered if, as a bisexual woman, the new policy forbids her from discussing her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
True

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

Keep Reading Show less