Living Wage Pledge

I Pledge to Support a Living Wage

Public sector workers are critical to the success of government, handling both day-to-day functions and the on-the-ground implementation of policy. Yet their contributions go either unnoticed or unappreciated as seen by their low, often stagnating salaries. At this time of skyrocketing housing costs and inflationary pressures, many employees are now facing the difficult decision between serving their communities or shifting to the private sector to afford being able to live. A full-time working person should - at a minimum - be able to afford a basic standard of living within their own community without experiencing personal financial fragility and the mental and physical health impacts that come along with it. Local governments must lead by their values in working to solve this critical problem.

"I pledge to use my office to raise and maintain the starting salaries of all public employees to a living wage. I pledge to increase the local teaching supplement for teachers and school staff to cover the gap between the state salary schedule and the local annual cost of living. I pledge to advance and support a resolution establishing a living wage ordinance for all public employees in my local government."

Current living wage numbers are shown below for ease of reference; click on your county to see how much an employee must make to afford the local cost of living. The exact formula for calculating living wage can be found at the bottom of this webpage.

Sign the Pledge

The Progressive Caucus, Labor Caucus, and Young Democrats of North Carolina have worked together to create a pledge directed at officials and candidates currently holding or running for local office. Our three organizations require signing this pledge as a prerequisite to endorsement consideration for city/town council and mayoral candidates, county commissioner candidates, and school board candidates. Please use the below linked Google Form to digitally sign the pledge.

Living Wage Definition:

Living wage is a defined salary level at which a full-time employee spends no more than 30% of their gross annual income on their housing costs. Modeled off the successful living wage ordinances adopted by the cities of Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh as well as the Orange and Wake County governments, housing prices are determined by averaging the Department of Housing and Urban Development's four most recently published years' one-bedroom FMRs (Fair Market Rents) for the relevant HUD metro area. Living wage is only enough to cover basic needs and expenses and is a well defined but minimum standard that should not be an over-interpreted measure of success. In signing this pledge, I am committing to use my office to advance increases to the local budget in order for local government employees to make an annual or hourly salary indexed to the above definition of a living wage or $15 an hour, whichever is higher.

Please email with any questions about our joint living wage candidate pledge.

Elected Officials

Denise 'D.D.' Adams

Winston-Salem City Council

Nida Allam

Durham County Commission

Nate Baker

Durham City Council

Emily Biggs

Martin County Commission

Nimasheena Burns

Durham County Commission

Patricia 'Pat' Cotham

Mecklenburg County Commission

Amanda Dumas

Huntersville Town Commission

Sean C. Ewing

Mebane City Council

Arthur Griffin

Mecklenburg County Commission

Matt Hughes

Hillsborough Town Commission

Wendy Jacobs

Durham County Commission

Bettye Jenkins 

Guilford Board of Education

Christina Jones

Raleigh City Council

Vilma D. Leake

Mecklenburg County Commission

Lethia Lee

Sampson County Commission

Jovonia Lewis

Durham Board of Education

Phyllis Portie-Ascott

Orange County Commission

Gregory 'Dee' Rankin

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education

George Sieburg

Asheville Board of Education

Susan Rodriguez-McDowell

Mecklenburg County Commission

Parker Sloan

Buncombe County Commission

Tara Waters

Wake County Commission

Candidates for Office

Pepi Acebo

Asheville Board of Education

Valerie Brockenbrough

Forsyth County Commission

Michelle Burton

Durham County Commission

Marilyn Carter

Orange County Commission

Kendall Fields

Forsyth County Commission

Adam Hege

Watauga Board of Education

Bo Hess

Asheville City Council

Jennifer Horton

Buncombe County Commission

Vivian Joiner

Winston-Salem City Council

Judy Justice

New Hanover Board of Education

Mike Lee

Durham County Commission

Denise Magwood

Craven Board of Education

Tim Merrick

New Hanover Board of Education

Tammy Raynor Petrosillo

Franklin Board of Education

Gary Redding

Halifax County Commission

Jimmie C. Silver

Halifax County Commission

Yvette Townsend-Ingram

Mecklenburg County Commission

Stephen J. Valentine

Durham County Commission

Marsie West

Forsyth County Commission

Wesley Wheless

Franklin County Commission