More than 800 business owners – and counting – nationwide have signed a statement supporting raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 and are available for media interviews
June 16, 2019 – Sunday, June 16 marks the longest period that Americans have gone without an increase in the federal minimum wage since it was enacted in 1938. More than 800 business owners across the country—from mom and pop shops to regional chains and national brands—have signed a Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement supporting raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024, which the congressional Raise the Wage Act would do. More business leaders continue to sign on every day—from those who already pay their employees $15 because they see the bottom-line benefits of doing so, to those who are paying less than $15 now but support raising the minimum wage because they know it will be good for businesses and the economy.
“This is a terrible milestone for the nation. While various states and cities have been able to raise their own minimum wages, too many people are languishing under an obscenely low $7.25 federal minimum wage that depresses consumer buying power and weakens businesses and communities,” said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Throughout the country, real business owners are rallying around raising the minimum wage. Lawmakers need to listen and act now.”
On June 16, it will have been 9 years, 10 months, 3 weeks and 3 days since the minimum wage was last increased on July 24, 2009—passing the prior record set Sept. 1, 1997 – July 24, 2007. The federal minimum wage, set at $7.25 an hour since 2009, is worth less than it was in 1950, adjusted for inflation.
While 29 states now have minimum wages at least a little above $7.25 an hour, 21 states do not. $7.25 an hour amounts to just $15,080 for full-time workers. The erosion of the national wage floor undermines the consumer spending that businesses depend on and weakens overall economic growth. Business owners know a higher minimum wage won’t just boost consumer demand, but it will lower employee turnover, increase productivity and strengthen the economy.
Business owners across the country are available for media interviews including:
Ashraf Hijaz, owner of Beauty & Beyond based in Montgomery, Alabama: “Lawmakers aren’t doing businesses any favors by keeping the minimum wage at $7.25 and keeping more money out of the hands of our customers. Most businesses have a lot more customers than employees. Raising the minimum wage will increase customer spending at all kinds of businesses and be a welcome boost for our economy.”
Gina Schaefer, owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores, a group of 11 Ace Hardware stores in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia: “Raising pay at the bottom is good for the bottom line. We couldn’t have grown to 11 stores without our dedicated employees and the customers they serve every day. Customers have a choice – and they choose us! Better entry wages have helped my business succeed. Raising the minimum wage to $15 will help businesses and communities thrive.”
Joey Mendez, co-owner of ULAH in Westwood, Kansas: “We believe in paying well to support the economy from entry level positions and up.”
ReShonda Young, founder of Popcorn Heaven in Waterloo, Iowa: “With the minimum wage so low, it perpetuates poverty. It’s bad for business that full-time workers have trouble making rent much less buy a bag of popcorn now and again. And it’s painful to see people who can’t afford to retire working minimum wage jobs that keep them in poverty. It’s much better for our workforce, our customer base and our communities when people earn a livable wage.”
Pat McMahon, CEO of One Point in Scranton, Pennsylvania: “I support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024. Our employees are central to our success. We treat our employees like family, and we hope and expect them to stay with us for 10 years or longer. By paying livable wages our employees can afford to stick with us and grow with the company.”
Matt Wright, co-founder of Little Brother Bar in Austin, Texas: “The current minimum wage simply isn’t livable. As a business committed to making sure our employees make a decent living—we make sure they make more than $15 an hour—it would help us greatly to have a level playing field with restaurants that keep prices artificially low by paying people less than it takes to live in our city.”
Lisa Turner, owner of Trinity Mercantile & Design in Decatur, Georgia: “When you pay people enough money that they don’t have to leave for higher wages, it is so much less expensive. If you’re constantly replacing employees, you have to consider how the cost of getting a new hire up to speed is a significant expense.”
Chrissy Jensen, owner of Domestica in Des Moines, Iowa: “We need to raise the minimum wage because people are struggling just to get by. When wages are too low, everything is affected – home life, health, education and productivity on the job. All employees should have a sense of worth and a paycheck that reflects that. Raising the minimum wage to $15 will give people some room to breathe. They’ll be better workers and better customers.”
To speak to these or other business owners as well as minimum wage experts, please contact Caitlin McShane, (415) 225-8855, firstname.lastname@example.org OR Bob Keener, (617) 610-6766, email@example.com.
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. Follow us @MinimumWageBiz.
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