Business Owners Available to Comment on State Ballot Initiatives to Raise Minimum Wage as well as Need for Federal Increase

CONTACT: 
Bob Keener, 617-610-6766bob@businessforafairminimumwage.org
Erin Musgrave, 530-864-7014erin@erinmusgravecommunications.com

Business owners quoted below, and many others around the country, available for interviews

Nov. 4, 2016 – Business leaders are speaking out in support of minimum wage initiatives on the ballot this Tuesday in four states and are also urging a federal minimum wage increase, saying the current $7.25 federal minimum undermines the consumer demand that businesses depend on and weakens economic growth. 

Hear from business leaders – from large businesses to Main Street mom-and-pops – about why they think ballot initiatives that would raise Arizona, Colorado and Maine’s minimum wages to $12 by 2020, and Washington State’s wage floor to $13.50 by 2020, make good business sense. And nationally more than 1,000 business owners and executives and business organizations have signed a Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement supporting a federal minimum wage of at least $12 by 2020.

Business owners across the country and in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington State spoke out about why they support raising the wage. These and others are available for media interviews leading up to and after the Nov. 8 election:

Edwin Zoe, Owner of Zoe Ma Ma restaurants in Boulder and Denver: “I’ve been a fiscally conservative Republican since I was a young man, and that’s why as a business owner, I’m supporting Amendment 70 to gradually raise Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 by 2020. Amendment 70 will reward work, encourage self-reliance and strengthen the free market by expecting businesses to compete fairly and not count on taxpayers to subsidize them through public assistance for employees who are paid too little to live on. Raising the minimum wage is good business and good government.”

Margo Walsh, Owner of MaineWorks LLC in Portland, ME and Maine’s 2016 Small Business Person of the Year: “The minimum wage is keeping workers stuck and struggling in poverty. Most policymakers have no idea how hard it really is. Raising the minimum wage to at least $12 is vital to making a living even possible. When employees are compensated fairly for their work, they’re more productive and our businesses, our customer base, our tax base and our communities are healthier.”

Rick Altig, Chairman of Altig-Orlovic American Income Life, with locations in Seattle, Redmond, Tacoma, Vancouver and Spokane, WA: “Our investment in employees, including good wages and healthcare, is key to their investment in our success as a business. Raising the minimum wage is a vital step in ensuring that Washington workers – who are also our customers – make a living wage. Initiative 1433 is good for workers, businesses and the entire community.”

Gary Johnson, President and CEO, AFI Contractors, Toledo, OH: “When the minimum wage is set too low it’s bad for workers and their families who are under constant financial stress, it’s bad for customers, and it’s bad for businesses and our economy, which is fueled by consumer spending. By raising the minimum wage, we wouldn’t just lift the floor under workers – we would lift the floor under our economy. Raising the minimum wage puts money in the paychecks of people who most need to spend it – boosting sales at businesses and strengthening communities.”

Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, President and CEO of Earth Friendly Products, maker of ECOS brand cleaning products, in California, Illinois, New Jersey and Washington: “At our facilities in Lacey, Washington and elsewhere, we start employees at $17 and provide paid healthcare and sick leave. Paying a living wage has made a positive impact on our bottom line. Our voluntary turnover rate is nearly zero, our productivity has increased, and our profits continue to climb. Our employees are our greatest brand ambassadors. Raising Washington’s minimum wage to $13.50 is a critical step in creating a truly sustainable economy that helps everyone thrive.”

Michael Lastoria, Co-Founder and CEO, &pizza, locations across Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, DC: “&pizza is a company that has been, and will continue to be, built on the shoulders of our Tribe – our employees. Fair pay is a vital ingredient to our company’s success and culture and the wellbeing of our more than 400 employees. That is why we chose to provide a starting wage that is significantly above the minimum. It’s a simple, but critical, concept: take care of your people and they will take care of your customers.”

Judy Clinco, Founder and CEO of Catalina In-Home Services, Tucson, AZ: “Having run my business for more than 35 years, I know how expensive and time-consuming it is to replace employees and train new ones. The Arizona Healthy Working Families Initiative will help businesses save time and money by improving staff retention and job performance, while at the same time improving the lives of people in our state.”

Holly Sklar, CEO, Business for a Fair Minimum Wage: “Minimum wage wins this Tuesday will significantly increase the momentum building across the country and across the political spectrum to raise the minimum wage in the states and nationally. There is growing public awareness that raising the minimum wage boosts businesses and the economy with increased employee retention and productivity, better customer service and increased consumer buying power. The $7.25 federal minimum wage has less buying power than the minimum wage of 1950 in today’s dollars. It’s time to finally put the $7.25 minimum wage in the past where it belongs and assure an adequate wage floor, wherever people live or do business.”

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Business owners across the country and in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington State are available for media interviews leading up to and after the Nov. 8 election.

Please contact Bob Keener, 617-610-6766bob@businessforafairminimumwage.org, OR Erin Musgrave at erin@erinmusgravecommunications.com530-864-7014.

Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a national network of business owners and executives and business organizations that believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense. 

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