Worcester Telegram: Proposal for $15 minimum wage divides business owners

By Kaitlin Milliken
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Sept 23, 2017

BOSTON − As state legislators discuss bills to raise the minimum wage, business owners must decide if they are willing − and able − to pay their employees $15 an hour. ... Advocates say higher pay will improve employees’ quality of life, decrease job turnover and increase local spending. ...

“It’s time to ... make sure people can provide for their families and provide a pathway to the middle class,” said Rep. Daniel Donahue, D-Worcester, during a recent press conference at the Statehouse. Donahue is the sponsor of a House bill that aims to raise the minimum wage $1 every year starting in 2018, reaching a peak at $15 an hour in 2021. ...

While some businesses have concerns about a higher minimum wage, others have already adopted a starting pay of $15 an hour. The Worcester County Food Bank supports raising the minimum wage. According to Executive Director Jean McMurray, 15 percent of people who go to food banks in Worcester work one or more minimum-wage jobs. ...

Rob Everts [is CEO of] Equal Exchange, a [MA]-based company that distributes free-trade coffee to businesses nationwide, including Lock 50 and Living Earth in Worcester. He joined more than 200 other business owners from across Massachusetts and signed a statement from the advocacy group Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, which supports gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“If we go through the legislation statewide, it helps level the playing field,” Everts said. “It’s not just a few businesses doing the right thing.” ...

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Copyright 2017 Telegram

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