Business leaders continue to sign on daily to a statement supporting raising the state minimum wage to $15 by 2021; signers testify increase good for businesses, customers and the economy
Boston, Sept. 19, 2017 — More than 200 Massachusetts business leaders have signed a new statement supporting gradually raising the state minimum wage to $15 by 2021, and numerous signers are testifying today in support of legislation that would increase the minimum wage during a hearing at the State House. Business leaders from across Massachusetts continue to sign on to the statement daily.
The Massachusetts Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Statement says that gradually raising the minimum wage is “good for business, customers and our economy.” It says, “Raising the minimum wage boosts consumer buying power—increasing sales at local businesses as workers buy products and services they could not afford before.” It explains that “low pay typically means high employee turnover” and says that “with lower turnover, businesses see reduced hiring and training costs, less product waste, and lower error and accident rates. Businesses benefit from increased productivity, product quality and customer satisfaction.”
Many who signed the statement are also testifying today at a legislative hearing at the State House in support of legislation that would raise the current $11 minimum wage by $1 a year over four years until it reaches $15 in 2021, with annual cost of living adjustments after that.
“Workers are also customers,” said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “When the minimum wage is too little to live on, it undermines the consumer demand that powers our economy. Instead of paying decent wages, low-wage businesses pay the costs of low staff morale and high turnover – from increased hiring and training costs to lower productivity and customer satisfaction. Raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2021 will strengthen businesses and the economy.”
Jackson Renshaw, Co-Owner of Fresh Food Generation, a catering business, food truck and cafe in Dorchester, said, “We hire from the communities we serve and source from local farms and businesses. Raising the minimum wage so that jobs pay enough to live on is a vital part of the recipe for healthier communities and a healthier economy.”
Valerie Gurdal, Owner of Formaggio Kitchen in Boston and Cambridge, said, “Our employees are our most valuable asset. With many options to choose from, including large chains and online retail, we want our customers to feel well-cared-for when they shop. Our employees interact most closely with customers. We rely on their knowledge and dedication to survive and thrive. We know we are among many small business owners who support raising the minimum wage.”
Bruce Lessels, Co-Owner of Zoar Outdoor in Charlemont, said, “In our line of work, teamwork is everything. If employees feel valued, they will provide the best service we can offer our customers. The minimum wage should set a fair floor under workers’ pay. That also levels the playing field for businesses.”
Megan Driscoll, Founder and CEO of PharmaLogics Recruiting in Quincy, an Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company, said, “Whether you are in recruiting, food, health care, retail or hospitality, your employees are your greatest assets. When employees aren’t valued, they know it. And so do clients and customers. Employees who make a living wage perform better.”
Michael Kanter, Co-Owner of Cambridge Naturals in Cambridge, said, “We know our employees aren’t just a ‘labor cost.’ They are a business asset. In December 2016, we increased our starting hourly wage from $13 to $15, and the results have been even lower employee turnover, better customer service and increased sales. Raising the minimum wage is good for business and good for communities.”
Laura Fisher, Owner of Laura Fisher Agencies AIL in Burlington and Mansfield, said, “If you want happy customers, have happy employees. That’s how you grow a business long-term. We don’t pay anyone less than $15 an hour now, even entry level office staff. And when the economy grows from the bottom up with minimum wage increases, our consumer base grows wider and stronger.”
Rob Everts is Co-CEO of Equal Exchange, with its headquarters and coffee roasting plant in West Bridgewater, warehouse operations in Canton and Lakeville, and a café in Boston. He said, “We believe in fair trade and fair pay – and it shows in our success. Fair pay has contributed to our strong growth and profitability for over 30 years. Raising the minimum wage is a reinvestment in our economy and in our communities.”
Rachael Solem, Owner of Irving House and Harding House, small hotels in Cambridge, said, “There’s no conflict between paying a living wage and staying profitable. Good pay has been central to our success over three decades. When employees are fairly compensated, they work better and stay longer. Happier employees mean happier guests.”
Dan Rosenberg, Founder of Real Pickles in Greenfield said, “We’ve shown that paying fair wages and focusing on employee well-being drives innovation and growth. With Real Pickles products now sold in over 500 stores, we continue to add good jobs and increase our support for local farms.”
Jen Faigel, Executive Director, CommonWealth Kitchen, a food business incubator in Dorchester, said, “As a business incubator, we help entrepreneurs build great food companies, create good jobs and reinvest back in our local economy. Raising the minimum wage is a critical step in building an equitable regional food economy in which everyone can thrive.”
Business leaders are available for comment and/or broadcast bookings. To schedule an interview, contact Bob Keener at [email protected] or (617) 610-6766 or Erin Musgrave at [email protected] or (530) 864-7014.
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a Boston-based 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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