The Carrboro Board of Aldermen unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday night to raise wages so that every town employee will be paid at least a living wage.
Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle said that the resolution was putting into words and on the record the board’s commitment to Carrboro’s values.
“It’s kind of our affirmation – outside of the budget, which we’re going to adopt beginning July 1, where it’ll be shown by way of salary adjustments,” Lavelle said.
Lavelle said that resolution does not only apply to full-time workers but instead all employees – including those who are part-time.
“The part-time was what took us a little time to figure out how to do with all of our Parks & Recreation folks,” Lavelle said, “and I’m really, really pleased to see that we were able to do that.”
The move is continuing a wave of momentum driven by the non-profit Orange County Living Wage to encourage employers to pay all employees a living wage, which is the minimum amount a worker must earn to be able to afford basic necessities without public or private assistance.
The living wage in Orange County is $12.75 per hour for workers without employer-provided health insurance and $11.25 per hour for those with health insurance from their employer.
Board member Jacquie Gist said that she was pleased the town would provide this for employees but noted that it was not all happy news because North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 bans localities from requiring pay standards for contractors.
“I am very pleased that we were able to do this; it’s something that everybody has wanted for years,” Gist said. “I’m very, very sad, however, that because of other parts of HB2 – other than the bathroom part – we are not allowed to require of people who are contracting with us that they also pay a living wage to their employees.
“And as horrific as the bathroom part and the discrimination parts are, these are the parts that people also need to see.”
Gist said this amounted to state government overreaching into the actions of a locality.
“I’m furious that we are not allowed to say how town money will be spent, our own taxpayer’s money will be spent, when we contract with other vendors,” Gist said.
The Carrboro employee pay raises are beginning with the new budget for the next fiscal year.