Living wage certification program (Courtesy photo)

A new economic justice program was launched in the city of Alexandria. Designed to promote a living wage* for all employees, the program was first envisioned by Kim Bobo, executive director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and initiated in collaboration with Rev. David Gortner, Associate Dean of Church and Community Engagement at the Virginia Theological Seminary, and other faith, business and civic leaders.
The cost of living in Alexandria continues to rise and far exceeds the earnings of a minimum wage worker. Because Virginia does not allow local communities to raise the minimum wage, this privately-run program recognizes employers who pay their workers a living wage and embrace ethical business practices. After employers are certified by the program, organizers urge consumers to patronize their businesses through advertising and other means. Other employers are also encouraged to raise their employees’ pay to meet the program’s minimum thresholds and standards. 

Living wage Decal (Courtesy photo)

Alexandria’s program uses a three-tier system (gold $15.70/hr.; silver $14.13/hr.; aspirational $11.23/hr.). Employers are encouraged to submit applications for certification in order to qualify. Today, three employers received their official certifications from Kim Bobo: LaJuanna Russell, founder and CEO, Business Management Associates (BMA); Danielle Romanetti, owner, Fibre Space; and Rev. David Gortner of the Virginia Theological Seminary. (Photo attached. Credit: Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy). Speakers included Virginia Delegate Mark Levine. 
Employers requesting applications are invited to email 
*A living wage is defined as the minimum wage a full-time worker must earn to pay for basic necessities, including food and housing, without assistance from others.