The CEO who gave everyone a $70K minimum salary in 2015 has a message for the doubters

Five years ago, Dan Price upended the status quo of the corporate world—one in which executives reap many times what employees sow—by taking a radical stance on salaries at his credit card processing company, Gravity Payments. First, he cut his own salary from more than $1 million to $70,000. Then he created a minimum salary of $70,000 for every employee at his company.

These moves made waves. People debated whether it was brilliance or silly idealism on Price's part.

As they say, the proof is in the pudding. And after five years, Price has receipts.

He recently wrote on Twitter:

"When I started a $70k minimum wage for my company in 2015, Rush Limbaugh said: 'I hope this company is a case study in MBA programs on how socialism does not work, because it's gonna fail.'

Since then our company tripled & we're a successful case study at Harvard Business School."

He added in another tweet:

"Since my company started a $70k min wage in 2015:


*Our business tripled

*Staff who own homes grew 10x

*401(k) contributions doubled

*70% of employees paid off debt

*Staff having kids soared 10x *

Turnover dropped in half

*76% of staff are engaged at work, 2x the national average"


Price seems to have hit on a truth that somehow eludes many in our cutthroat capitalist system—happy, satisfied employees are good for the bottom line. In Price's words, "When someone can actually focus on work without outside stresses, the company also benefits."

And that employee loyalty has paid off through the economic upheaval of the pandemic. Price told the Idaho Statesman that when the shutdown happened in March, Gravity faced a 55% revenue loss. Determined not to lay anyone off, Price cut his own salary down to $0. He met with his 185 employees, and nearly all of them volunteered temporary pay cuts of between 5% and 100%.

In 16 years of business, Gravity has never laid off employees and he didn't intend to start now. "I'm so proud of my team," Price told the Statesman. "I'm genuinely shocked by their willingness to sacrifice in so many ways and to help so many small businesses and get us to a place where we're going to be around for a long time."

Price is an outspoken advocate for employee pay structures that don't disproportionately enrich executives and upper management. In a tweet just today, he pointed out how much more CEOs make than their median worker—a number that has always been fairly ridiculous, but which has grown exponentially in the past few decades.

"At my company the highest-paid person makes 3x the median worker, down from 36x in 2015. Since raising wages and slashing my CEO pay, our business tripled."

There's no doubt that a CEO has more stress and higher risk, and may even work far more hours than an average worker. But 300 times more? No. That's not even humanly possible.

He's also highlighted the ludicrous reality that the stock market continues to climb and the uber-wealthy keep getting uber-wealthier during the pandemic, while tens of millions of Americans remain unemployed. Some of the reason for that, Price claims, is that companies are saving their billion-dollar profits by massively cutting jobs.

"Companies everywhere are doing this, which is how the stock market booms amid lower revenues," Price wrote. "Remember which companies valued profits over humans."

Price is a breath of fresh air in the business world—one it would be nice to see from more corporate executives. People over profits isn't just a saying, but a deliberate choice people in charge have to make. Price made that choice five years ago, and it has paid off in more ways than one. Employees are healthier, they're having more babies, they're buying more houses, and putting more money into their retirement plans.

"We saw, every day, the effects of giving somebody freedom," Price told the BBC.

And they're appreciative of Price's own sacrifices. So appreciative, in fact, that the team pitched in to buy Price a Tesla to replace the 12-year-old Audi he drove to work every day in 2016—a move they called giving Price "a tates of his own medicine."

Gravity Payments Team Surprises CEO, Dan Price, With A Tesla! www.youtube.com


More of this, please.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.