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Costco's well known for resisting Wall Street pressure to drive more profitability by cutting employee health care and other costs, even when many other retailers have been stingy about such "expensive" benefits.

After having looked through the posts on this board, this is the quote that stuck with me. I have used that Costco example for years to explain to people there is a different way -- and it works. It was Charlie Munger (of Buffett sidekick fame) who made me aware of the Costco pay system. I never, before now, thought of it as a SRI point but it is.

I live outside a city in an agricultural area. Do you think farm labors are paid the minimum wage?

The federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. The federal minimum wage provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Many states also have minimum wage laws. In cases where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages.

Did you guess, "Yes" -- that farm labors are paid at least the minimum wage -- then this may interest you. Many are paid the minimum. Some are paid more. But, the reality is that the law allows a way to pay them less than the minimum! Here is a paragraph from the Subminimum Wage law (and that is the real name in the law's subsection):

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides for the employment of certain individuals at wage rates below the minimum wage. These individuals include student-learners (vocational education students), as well as full-time students employed by retail or service establishments, agriculture, or institutions of higher education. Also included are individuals whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability, including those related to age or injury, for the work to be performed.

To keep our food prices low, people do backbreaking work for less than the minimum wage. How can they live on that? It sucks -- especially here in Central Florida where it can be scorching hot.

Alyce, I am glad to have found your SRI board. It will be interesting to see what you find. Sorry for dragging my soapbox out.

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