Arkansas Business Owners Back Issue 5 as Court Determines Minimum Wage Initiative Stays on Ballot

Arkansas business owners and the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce speak in support of Issue 5, the minimum wage initiative that today cleared a final hurdle to appear on the November ballot, because increasing wages will be good for businesses and the economy

CONTACT:
 Erin Musgrave, (530) 864-7014, erin@emcstrategies.com

Little Rock, Oct. 18, 2018 — Arkansas business owners and the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce are speaking out today in support of raising the minimum wage as the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled to keep Issue 5 on the November ballot. Issue 5 would gradually raise Arkansas’ current minimum wage of $8.50 an hour to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2019, $10 in 2020, and $11 in 2021.

Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, said, “We applaud the Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision to keep Issue 5 on the ballot. Raising the minimum wage to $11 by 2021 will be a win-win for Arkansas businesses and workers. The No. 1 problem I hear from my members is that consumer demand is still weak. Raising the minimum wage will help small businesses by putting more money in the pockets of customers, which will boost spending up and down Main Street. The typical low-wage worker is an adult woman – think of the cashier at your grocery store or the health aide caring for your mother or grandfather. Decent wages enable workers to concentrate on their job without continually worrying about how they will put gas in their cars or keep up with their rent. Raising the minimum wage to a more realistic level helps level the playing field for businesses like my members who believe in treating their workers fairly and investing in the communities they are rooted in.”

Arkansas business owners say raising the minimum wage will help workers afford the basics, boost consumer spending, lower employee turnover, reduce hiring and training costs, increase productivity, and improve customer service. Arkansas members of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage are speaking out in support of Issue 5:

Steve Svendson, Owner of Svendson Agency in Rogers, said, “Raising the minimum wage will produce a virtuous cycle of increased economic activity across Arkansas. When people earn more as employees, they are able to spend more as customers. It’s a win-win for working families and businesses. I know from experience that businesses built with fair pay have happier employees and happier customers. That’s a formula for long-term opportunity and business success.”

Capi Peck, Owner of Trio’s Restaurant in Little Rock, said, “I’ve seen firsthand how paying fair wages is good for business. It’s why I support raising Arkansas’ minimum wage. I’m proud of how long many of our employees have been with us -- some for more than 20 years -- because we pay them fair wages and treat them right. That low turnover is invaluable from a bottom-line and customer service perspective. Increasing the minimum wage will give needed raises to workers who will then have more to spend as customers. Our businesses, our communities and our economy will all benefit.”

“Paying employees a fair wage is a simple equation of paying now to retain employees and keep them productive, or paying later in the form of lost productivity and high turnover,” said Richard Bishop, Owner and Chief Technical Officer of Conviare Inc. in Maumelle. “If an employee is constantly worried about making rent or feeding their children, they are thinking about something beside their job, and that’s detrimental to the workplace. As a business owner, I want to make sure my employees are focused on the job. That means making sure to pay a fair wage that allows them to balance work life and everyday life.”

“Small business employees are also small business customers,” said Nathan George, Owner of Joshua’s Fine Jewelry in Russellville. “When workers can’t even meet their basic needs on the minimum wage it weakens wages and consumer spending up the ladder as well. When workers are paid fairly they can have a life. They can make ends meet and even buy their loved-ones a gift on occasion. The additional bucks in their pocket get spent back around at businesses, boosting the economy and strengthening the tax base to pay for all the services we count on – from schools to road repair. Everyone benefits when people are paid a decent wage.”

Kent Wood, Owner of ReadtheLabl, a food company in Little Rock, said, “Paying fair wages affects the entire employee pool and gives all employees a higher sense of self-worth, which is better for business. Customer service is better and workers are happier and more invested in looking out for the business bottom line. Businesses that pay a fair wage show they value their employees. Raising the minimum wage will show that Arkansas values working people and the businesses that depend on them to thrive.”

These and other Arkansas business leaders are available for comment and/or broadcast bookings. To schedule an interview, contact Erin Musgrave at erin@emcstrategies.com or (530) 864-7014.

###

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.

 

Paid for by Arkansans for a Fair Wage

Share +