Are You Paying a Living Wage?


New Alexandria Program Certifies Employers

Local Alexandria employers LuJuanna Russell, Danielle Romanetti, and David Gortner were the first area businesses given the “Living Wage Certification” by program co-founder Kim Bobo. (Photo courtesy of Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy).

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 launched in mid-July 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.

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.

Three employers received their official certifications on July 17: LaJuanna Russell, founder and CEO, Business Management Associates (BMA); Danielle Romanetti, owner, Fibre Space; and Rev. David Gortner of the Virginia Theological Seminary.

The program was launched July 16, 2018 promote a living wage* in Alexandria for all employees. 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, the program is quickly growing among other faith, business and civic leaders.

To Get Certified

Employers requesting applications are invited to email alexandrialivingwage@gmail.com

*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.



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