Local Dairy Farmer Gets Presidential Recognition

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    NEWSLETTERS

    President Obama singled out a Bridgeport business owner who has been paying his workers more than the minimum wage for years.

    President Barack Obama was in Connecticut today to push his proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 and gave a shout-out to a local business owner.

    Obama gave special recognition to Doug Wade, the president of family-owned Wade's Dairy in Bridgeport, a dairy that was started up in 1893 and now has 48 employees.

    "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience I've never been through before," Wade said, of the president's remarks.

    Wade met with U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez last week when the official was in Connecticut.

    "One of the secrets to their success is that they treat employees like part of the family, so Doug pays his own workers fairly," Obama said of Wade's Dairy.

    But it doesn't end there.

    Wade writes editorials, talks to fellow business leaders and meets with elected officials to make the case for a higher minimum wage, Obama said. 

    "Keep in mind that Doug spent most of his life as a registered Republican. This is not about politics. This is about common sense. It's about business sense," Obama said. 

    Wade still has his original paystub from the 1970s, when he was making minimum wage, according to the president, and that money went 25 percent further than it does today.

    "It looks like the paycheck that I got when I was working at Baskin-Robbins," Obama said. 

    Wade, his family and his business reflect the message that believing hard working and coming together to raise the bar for everyone, Obama said.

    "Businesses have to understand that this is good for business," Wade explained. "The dollars that the working poor put into the economy will be spent immediately."

    Suzann Soto, credit and collections manager at Wade's Dairy, said she's been with the dairy for six years and plans to stick around.

    "I'm offered flexibility here," she said. "I'm treated like family and I'm very happy here, so I don't see myself going anywhere."

    She said Wade's Dairy is "there for you" and makes sure the employees get everything they need, adding that the pay and flexibility has helped her as a single mother.

    "We're very proud we can afford to pay people what we pay them, and I just think it keeps everybody happy," said Doug Wade's son, Ryan. "I'm a big believer in 'you get what you pay for,' and we definitely get it back from our employees."

    Before the speech, Obama and the governors dined at Cafe Beauregard in New Britain, a local establishment that pays employees more than minimum wage.