Maryland Business Leaders Speak in Support of $15 Minimum Wage

CONTACT: Bob Keener, 617-610-6766, bob@businessforafairminimumwage.org

Annapolis, January 14, 2019 — Maryland business leaders spoke at a press conference today in support of gradually raising the state minimum wage to $15. A bill to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2023 will be introduced in the General Assembly this week.

Brian England, Owner of B.A. Auto Care in Columbia, whose awards include Maryland Small Business of the Year, said, “Raising the minimum wage to $15 will help businesses and the economy by putting more money in the hands of those most likely to need to spend it. I see working people having to choose between replacing bald tires and putting in a new battery, for example. It’s bad for workers and businesses that people working full-time need to make choices like that.” England added, “As their minimum wages increase, businesses will find that employees are more productive and stay longer, reducing the costs of high turnover. And raising the minimum wage to a more adequate level raises working people up and away from needing the social safety net.”

Alissa Barron-Menza, Vice President of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage and Silver Spring resident, said, “Raising the minimum wage is a vital investment in Maryland’s workforce that will help businesses and communities thrive. Increased worker pay means increased consumer buying power – boosting sales at local businesses across the state. The gradual phase-in will give low-paying businesses time to adjust and experience the benefits as the minimum wage increases to $15 – benefits such as increased consumer spending, cost savings from lower employee turnover, increased productivity, and more satisfied customers.”

Other members of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage also commented in support of gradually raising Maryland’s minimum wage to $15:

Michael Lastoria, CEO of &pizza, with locations in Baltimore, Bethesda, North Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Germantown and Hyattsville: “When you take care of your people, they take care of your customers, and your business thrives. As a result of fair wages, we’ve seen higher employee productivity and retention. Our employee morale has skyrocketed and, with it, our customer experience and our bottom line. Our employees have become our loudest brand ambassadors.”

Annebeth Bunker, Owner of Annebeth’s in Annapolis: “As a retail store owner, I know how important good employees are to the success and stability of a business. Last year, we celebrated 20 years serving customers on historic Maryland Avenue in Annapolis. Fair pay helps us hire and retain good people, and it boosts morale. More experienced employees can also take better care of your customers. In retail, good customer service makes all the difference in keeping customers or losing them.

Gina Schaefer, Owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores, a group of Ace Hardware stores in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia, including Canton Ace Hardware, Federal Hill Ace Hardware and Waverly Ace Hardware in Baltimore and Old Takoma Ace Hardware in Takoma Park: “As we know from experience, paying fair wages helps us attract and retain good employees, increase sales, expand our business and hire more people. A happy, productive employee who knows our business not only saves us money, they help us retain and grow our customer base. Gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 would give businesses time to plan for and adapt to incremental increases.”

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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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