Opinion: Good job moving toward a living wage, Orange County

News that 100 businesses in Orange County have been certified by the Orange County Living Wage initiative program ought to be met with both enthusiasm and attentiveness.

Although signing 100 businesses to the agreement is an achievement that deserves to be lauded, the success of the initiative will ultimately come down to whether these businesses can remain competitive while achieving their upstanding goal.

Members of the Chapel Hill and Carrboro communities should make a conscious effort to support local businesses that pay a living wage, when it is reasonable for them to do so.

Given the state and national political climate, it is unlikely that either the state or federal minimum wages will see significant increases in the next four years — despite the fact that the real value of the minimum wage has deteriorated over the last few years due to inflation.

As a result, it is incumbent upon businesses to provide their employees with compensation that allows them to live in a dignified manner and for customers to support such businesses.

Until legislators take initiative to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, it is on us to encourage businesses to do so.

The Orange County Living Wage initiative clearly marks a step toward promoting a living wage in the area.

But in order for it to expand well beyond the 100 businesses that have already signed the initiative, residents of Orange County must back the existing businesses to prove that profit-seeking and fair compensation are not mutually exclusive goals.

Thanks for reading.

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