Business owners quoted below, and many others around the country, available for interviews
Nov. 8, 2016 – Business leaders are applauding passage of ballot initiatives raising the minimum wage in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington State, and are urging Congress to follow suit and raise the outdated federal minimum wage of $7.25, which comes to just $15,080 a year for full-time workers and undermines the consumer demand that businesses depend on.
A wide range of businesses supported ballot initiatives gradually raising Arizona, Colorado and Maine’s minimum wages to $12 by 2020, and Washington State’s wage floor to $13.50 by 2020, because it makes sense for businesses, customers and the economy.
Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, said,“Four very different states passed ballot initiatives today to raise the minimum wage. That speaks volumes. Voters know the minimum wage is too low and needs a boost. Workers are also customers, and increased pay means increased consumer buying power – as well as lower employee turnover and improved productivity. The minimum wage wins today will increase the momentum to raise the minimum wage in more states and nationally. The federal minimum wage has lagged far behind the cost of living since its high point in 1968, when it was worth $11.10 in today’s dollars. It’s time to finally consign the $7.25 federal minimum wage to the past and ensure an adequate wage floor everywhere people live and do business.”
More than 1,000 business owners, executives and business organizations have signed Business for a Fair Minimum Wage’s 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 their support for raising the minimum wage:
Bill Phelps, Co-Founder and CEO, Wetzel's Pretzels: “We haven't had an increase in the federal minimum wage in seven years. That's crazy! We’ve experienced strong sales growth after minimum wage increases. Raising the minimum wage is good for our bottom line. We're encouraged by these state raises, and look forward to continued growth for our business and the economy with future state and federal raises.”
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 supported Amendment 70 to raise Colorado’s minimum wage. It 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: “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.”
Matthew Hamilton, Sustainability Director of Aspen Skiing Company, which has 3,500 employees, said, “Passage of Amendment 70 recognizes that today’s wages don’t allow our workers to thrive. Today, we’ve taken an important step toward giving all Coloradans a hand up to support their families while strengthening our regional economy.”
Judy Clinco, Founder and CEO of Catalina In-Home Services, Tucson, AZ: “My fellow Arizonans did the right thing for our economy and our communities by passing Prop. 206. I’ve seen firsthand that paying a decent wage improves staff retention, job performance and my bottom line, as well as the lives of the people who work for me and the customers we serve. Now businesses and families across the state will be able to experience those benefits, as well.”
Michael Landgarten, CEO of Bob's Clam Hut/Landy's Management Group in Kittery Point, ME, with more than 300 employees: “Anyone working 40 hours a week should be able to live on their wages. Even at $12 an hour this will be a stretch but it is a big improvement from where we are. It makes sense to expect at least this of employers. An increased minimum wage is a moral and economic imperative if we are to have a healthy society.”
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 the success of our 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.”
Michael Lastoria, Owner, &pizza, locations across Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, DC: “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.”
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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