Baltimore Business Owners Applaud City Council Passage of $15 Minimum Wage

CONTACT: Erin Musgrave at [email protected] or 530-864-7014

Local business owners urge Mayor Catherine Pugh to sign bill gradually raising Baltimore’s minimum wage to $15; they are available for interviews upon request

Baltimore, March 20, 2017 — Local business owners applauded the City Council’s passage today of legislation gradually raising Baltimore’s minimum wage to $15 by July 1, 2022 for businesses with 50 or more employees, and to $15 by 2026 for businesses with fewer than 50 workers.

Raising the minimum wage will help businesses, neighborhoods and the economy as workers have more money to spend throughout Baltimore. What’s more, businesses will benefit from lower employee turnover, increased productivity and customer satisfaction.

Business owners ranging from restaurant owners and manufacturers to retail shops support this legislation, and look forward to Mayor Catherine Pugh signing the bill into law.

Michael Lastoria, CEO and founder of &pizza with locations in Baltimore, Bethesda, North Bethesda, Gaithersburg and Germantown: “Raising the minimum wage makes great business sense. The success of our fast-growing company can be directly attributed to our employees, or our Tribe members, feeling appreciated and motivated. It’s a simple but critical concept: allow your staff to thrive, and your business will thrive. When we raise the wage, we raise up people—and with them our businesses, our communities and the economy.”

Andrew Buerger, Owner, B’More Organic: “Baltimore needs this raise. We’ve found that when you invest in your employees, they invest in your business. The City Council invested in Baltimore today, and we encourage Mayor Pugh to do the same and sign this bill into law. Low wages depress consumer demand and businesses and the community suffer as a result. It’s time to stop that vicious cycle and put policies like this in place to help Baltimore thrive.”

Josh Keogh, Co-Owner of Baltimore Bicycle Works: “Raising Baltimore’s minimum wage means many of our customers—and future customers—will have more income to spend on bikes and repairs. And the gradual phase-in will allow businesses plenty of time to ramp up to $15 an hour. Having a stronger wage floor is a vital component of a healthier business climate. The City Council did the right thing in passing this bill, and I encourage Mayor Pugh to sign it.”

Shawn Lagergren, Owner, Tooloulou restaurant: “For Baltimore to thrive, people working full-time have to earn wages they can live on. If they don’t, our economy, our businesses and our people won’t flourish. Raising the minimum wage will put more money into customers’ pockets, helping us grow our businesses, build our economy and revitalize neighborhoods. I strongly support gradually raising Baltimore’s minimum wage to $15.”

Kevin Blodger, Owner, Union Craft Brewing: “Raising Baltimore's minimum wage will give people more income to spend at our business and others. We currently pay our workers above minimum wage and benefit from lower turnover, happier and more productive employees, and in turn, happy customers who come back again and again.”

Alissa Barron-Menza, Vice President, Business for a Fair Minimum Wage: “Phasing in a $15 minimum wage will boost consumer spending, foster a more stable, productive workforce and level the playing field for local businesses that already pay higher wages. Businesses will see cost savings from lower employee turnover and benefit from increased productivity, product quality and customer satisfaction. Baltimore’s business community, its economy and its people will benefit from raising the wage floor.”

Business leaders are available for comment and/or broadcast bookings. To schedule an interview, contact Erin Musgrave at [email protected] or (530) 864-7014.

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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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