Pennsylvania Business Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Raise the Minimum Wage

CONTACT: Erin Musgrave, (530) 864-7014, [email protected]

July 6, 2017 – Today Pennsylvania business leaders participated in various events across the state, urging lawmakers to raise the state’s minimum wage.

They cited numerous business benefits a higher minimum wage would have for their businesses, other Pennsylvania businesses and the state economy as a whole. The business leaders participated in events in Wilkes-Barre, Delaware County and Philadelphia and were joined by elected officials, workers and community leaders. Rep. Patty Kim introduced HB 1520, which would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2024 and Gov. Tom Wolf included an increase to $12 in his budget proposal.

Michael O'Connor, owner of La Barberia in Philadelphia and Jenkintown, said “Our customers want to know that their favorite barber will be here when they come in next. We know that by paying fair wages, our employees are happier and they stick around, providing the great service that keeps our customers coming back and recommending us to others. When the minimum wage goes up, businesses will see costly turnover go down. And raising Pennsylvania's minimum wage will put more money in the pockets of consumers to spend at businesses around the state.”

Michael Clemente, regional director of Arias Agencies for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, said “Our business supports increasing Pennsylvania's minimum wage to $15 by 2024. Paying a higher wage has been a critical component of our business success. We know our employees are the best investment in our agency's long-term growth. Likewise, raising the state's minimum wage is an investment in economic growth for our state. It will lift consumer buying power and strengthen the economy for both workers and businesses.”

Jennifer Weigel, general manager of MOM's Organic Market in Bryn Mawr, said “We know from experience that fair pay is good for business. With our starting pay now at $12, MOM's is the most profitable we've ever been and we have a new store opening soon in Philadelphia's Market East. Raising the minimum wage will grow consumer spending, increase productivity and reduce the need for hard-working Pennsylvanians to rely on government assistance programs to make ends meet.”

“The current $7.25 minimum wage, which amounts to just $15,080 a year for full-time work, is a drag on Pennsylvania's customer base, tax base and economy,” said John Traynor, owner of the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center and The Kitchen & Gallery Bar, who spoke recently at a minimum wage event in Harrisburg. “When the minimum wage is too low for workers to make ends meet, it hurts businesses as well as workers. Raising the minimum wage is one of the strongest tools we have in revitalizing our economy and building thriving communities.”

These and other members of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage say that raising the minimum wage will boost the consumer spending that businesses depend on to survive and grow. Business leaders also support a minimum wage increase because it will lead to better employee retention and reduce the hiring and training costs associated with the high turnover typical of low-wage businesses. Businesses will also benefit from increased productivity and greater customer satisfaction. The state will see increased tax revenues and reduced strain on social safety net programs caused by wages that are too little to live on.

Clemente, O’Connor, Traynor and Weigel, along with other Pennsylvania business owners 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. www.businessforafairminimumwage.org

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