‘A Forest Gump Moment,’ Wade’s Dairy Receives Praise From Prez

From Brian Lockhart, CT Post:

Doug Wade of Bridgeport-based Wade’s Dairy is a big proponent of increasing the minimum wage, even if the majority of Bridgeport’s business leaders are not.

Wade was recognized today by President Barack Obama during the latter’s trip to Connecticut to promote a minimum-wage hike.

Read more here.

How did Wade attract presidential interest? He explains in a statement to OIB:

I feel like Forest Gump when he quoted his mom as saying that “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

An amazing journey that started from my testimony that I gave to a Hartford legislative committee considering the CT increase of the minimum wage on Tuesday, February 18th. This caught someone’s eye. (Testimony follows:)

My name is Douglas Wade, I am the fourth generation owner of Wade’s Dairy located in Bridgeport. We have 49 employees and we do our best to pay a living wage. No one at my company is paid less than the proposed minimum wage of $10.10.

I am strongly in favor of this legislation that will raise the minimum wage. I am saddened that it doesn’t provide for a CPI adjustment.

I strongly believe that an increase in the minimum wage will help to stimulate the economy in CT as the working poor spend ‘most all of their money in their local communities.

I also believe that we as a civilized society need to uphold basic human rights. I don’t pretend to be an expert on this subject, however I know there is a source document that 240 sovereign nations have signed and ratified since it was written on the world stage in 1948 following the horrors that occurred during World War II. Our country was a leader in crafting the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS that now serves as the basis for the authority of the United Nations. We saw this document in play yesterday with the announcement of human rights violations occurring in North Korea.

There are several articles in this document that I would like you to reflect upon.

Article 23 states; Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

Article 24 states; Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25 states; Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.

Could you live on $8.70 per hour? Do you consider this a living wage that provides an adequate standard of living?

A government representative of the people should reflect and protect the values that we hold as human beings. The minimum wage is a humanitarian law created 76 years ago that set standards with the intention of ensuring that everyone who worked full time would be compensated at a rate that would provide the means to a life without poverty. There is no exact formula to determine a proper minimum hourly wage, but I can say with certainty that $8.70 doesn’t cut it.

I urge your support of this bill and I also urge you to bring up future legislation that will automatically adjust the minimum wage for inflation on an annual basis. The federal minimum wage has been increased 23 times over the past 76 years and the people’s right to minimum standards shouldn’t be treated like a yoyo.

Index the minimum wage and stop the political theatrics.



  1. Good for Doug. I was thrilled to hear he would meet with Obama. He has been fearless in support of an increase in the minimum wage and one of the lone voices on the Bridgeport Regional Business Council board. Good for him!

    1. Good for Doug, bad for the rest of us. Doug, Obama, Malloy, nor anyone for what it matters won’t tell anyone the increase of the minimum wage Doug Wade supports is one which is going to be paid by all of us–consumers and taxpayers. Care to take that back, Mary-Jane Foster?

      www .cato.org/publications/trade-briefing-paper/milking-customers-high-cost-us-dairy-policies


  2. Good for Wade’s Dairy. They must have forgotten how they lost the school milk contract to a dairy from New Jersey last year by $0.05 per container of milk. It would seem because of CT’s high taxes, high labor cost and high cost of living, a dairy in New Jersey could drive the school milk up I-95, through NY, past all those tolls, using all that gas, paying all those workers for that long drive and deliver milk to schools for $0.05 less per carton than a dairy across the street could. I wonder how many people got laid off when Wade lost that contract? But that is OK. Keep driving up the cost to live or do business in CT.

  3. *** Good job, Wade’s Dairy, the always-late-paying-the-milk-bill Bpt Schools System is once again considering going back to Wade’s Dairy after their contract is up with Jersey. Seems Jersey may have to raise their prices to the same level as Wades original offer. The short-term savings was good for the schools while it lasted anyway; Economics affects everything, even in Jersey! Taxes is what keeps driving up the cost to live and do business in CT, not employers that realize a good day’s work is worth a decent day’s pay! *** RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE RATE/STOP SLAVE-LABOR MENTALITY. ***

    1. I don’t know where you get this SLAVE LABOR MENTALITY idea. It doesn’t work like that. It is more like this. Wade’s businesses model is to employee four workers at $15/hour. That means each worker has to produce $30/hour to pay their own salary and payroll tax. Then, if Wade wants to pay himself as much as he pays his workers, each worker has to produce another $7.50/hour for a total of $37.50/hour.
      My business plan is to employee five workers at $12/hour. Each of my workers only has to produce $28.80/hour to pay themselves and me $12/hour. This model assumes all other expenses are the same and our prices are competitive. My workers do not have to work as hard. They do not have to be the same quality worker Wade would need to keep the business running. My workers could be people Wade fired for being too ‘lazy.’ If I have a worker who excels and I do not match Wade’s pay scale this worker will go work for Wade. That is OK because my business model does not require that kind of worker.
      That is where your minimum wage ideas are going to run into trouble. Not the ‘decent day’s pay’ part. It is the ‘good day’s work’ part. Anyone who puts in good day’s work will make more than minimum wage in a very short time. For the rest, raising minimum wage is just government-enforced corporate welfare which is probably the best way to go because our government social welfare is working out so well.

    2. One of the most, and likely THE most consistent and overarching end game in the universe, yes universe, is mathematics.

      At the end of the day, the math will win. It WILL win. No one can stop mathematics from doing her job, and equalizing. She will not act any different because there are individuals not making a living. In this case it’s a crying shame.

      The workforce will shrink.

  4. President Obama delivers high praise that CT, MA, RI and VT governors are strongly backing the minimum wage.

    Does anybody notice in terms of economic vitality and job creation, all these states are getting their asses kicked, at the bottom of every list when it comes to business climate?

    The minimum wage is all BS. You mention Wade’s Dairy and Bridgeport School lunch. Those very nice but essentially unskilled labor at all the cafeterias make about $15 an hour, vacation pay, BOE pension.

    This is strictly a BS election-year ploy by Obama, Malloy, Finch et al. to pander for votes as opposed to addressing real problems like entitlements, financial sustainability, etc.

  5. The question of whether to raise the minimum wage is indeed a perplexing one. As a business person who is no stranger to the notion that money be used as a motivator I have had mixed results when applying this theory.

    Money as a general rule is only a temporary motivator. True motivation must always come from within. Although it’s altruistic to think we need to give those who are earning the minimum a leg up, more often than not what we end up with is not a higher quality workforce that is perpetually motivated to do a good job. What we end up with instead is a smaller workforce comprised of the same motivation profiles as existed before applying money to a situation, just fewer of them. Fewer jobs, higher pay, same folks. Did I say fewer jobs?

    There have also been numerous spillover problems in my experience as well. Closing the gap between the lowest paid and those who are higher paid has a tendency to breed resentment in the higher-paid workers. They think the adjustment should be applied to them as well. And then come the unions.

    College kids and such would benefit the most, but truthfully I just don’t know if this is the right move at this time. We are bleeding money already. I know it may seem heartless, but do we want to keep more people employed or do we want to pay fewer people more money?

    I am stymied.

    1. Sally: Your example is sad but true. Pay is not a motivator for workers. It is a reward. A good worker is rewarded with high pay, not motivated by it. Everyone falls somewhere on the spectrum of hard to poor worker. A bad worker will be a bad worker regardless of pay. Regardless of how much you pay them their work ethic will still suck. A hard worker will be a hard worker despite their pay. Despite how much you pay them they will do a good job because that is their job.


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