The $70,000 minimum wage is working

By Cathryn Wellner / November 4, 2015
Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, from the company's Facebook page

Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, from the company’s Facebook page

I confess when I wrote about Dan Price and his shocking minimum wage, I gulped, crossed my fingers and held my breath. The CEO of Gravity Payments had announced that over the next three years he was going to even out the pay scale. Everyone in the company would make the same salary, $70,000.

My equity-driven soul screamed, “YES!” The cautious side of me quietly wondered if the company would crash and burn.

So here is an update. According to Inc.com, business is soaring, and profits have doubled. When a job opens, thousands of people apply. Employees are ecstatic. Once customers lifted their dropped jaws off the floor, they signed on.

Price had to put up with a lot of ugly skeptics. (Think Fox News.) He did not back down. His announcement went viral. Gravity’s payments-processing system became an industry darling. Employees who liked being top dogs grumbled a bit, but everyone knew they would be making enough to pay their bills and have a decent quality of life.

So hats off to Dan Price. His gamble is paying off. Now I hope he’ll talk to the board of my bank, where the CEO makes an obscenely huge salary but keeps front-line staff hungry. What Gravity is aiming for is “enough”, that point where workers can concentrate on doing a good job for a company they love instead of on clawing their way up a competitive pay scale.

Is everyone happy? We’re talking about human beings, not automatons. Of course some grumbling still swirls around the coffee machine. But however this experiment turns out in the long run, Dan Price deserves praise for making such a bold step toward equity.

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