CONTACT: Cat Ulrich
email@example.com, (202) 630-7839
July 23, 2020—Business owners across the country are calling for the $7.25 federal minimum wage to be increased, as July 24 marks 11 years since the federal minimum wage was last raised in 2009. This is the longest period without a raise since the federal minimum wage was enacted in 1938.
“We’re in the longest period in history without a minimum wage increase, which hurts businesses as well as workers,” said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “The federal minimum wage wasn’t enacted during good economic times. It was enacted to help our country recover from the Great Depression by lifting insufficient wages and boosting the consumer buying power that businesses depend on to survive and grow. As we face another generation-defining crisis, we should look again to raising the minimum wage to promote the shared recovery of businesses and communities.”
Because of inadequate increases, today’s $7.25 federal minimum wage has less purchasing power than the minimum wage of 1950, which was worth $8.23 in 2020 dollars, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator. The minimum wage was worth more than $12 in today’s dollars at its peak in 1968. Millions of low-wage workers were having a hard time keeping a roof overhead and food on the table even before the COVID-19 crisis.
In July 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Raise the Wage Act, which would gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025, but the Senate has not acted.
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage members across the country are available for interviews about why they support minimum wage increases -- pointing to factors such as increased consumer spending, better productivity and customer service and a level playing field for small businesses.
Mike Draper, Owner of Raygun LLC (an Iowa-based printing, design & clothing company with locations in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Chicago, and Kansas City, MO): “Raising the minimum wage is important for fair competition and building a thriving economy. It's particularly important now during a pandemic and economic crisis. If people can't make ends meet, then they can't afford to spend money at stores like mine.”
Rebecca Hamilton, Family Owner and Co-CEO of W.S. Badger Company, a 2019 New Hampshire Business of the Year (headquartered in Gilsum, New Hampshire): “The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is too low for businesses and communities alike in New Hampshire and across the country where we sell our products. We've found that paying a living wage helps us hire and retain excellent staff, keeping us competitive even when other businesses have struggled. Fair pay helps build successful businesses and healthy communities, and is a vital step to recovering from the pandemic and economic crisis.”
Michael O'Connor, Owner of La Barberia (Jenkintown and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania): “The pandemic has been hard on my barbershop business. We had to close both locations when Pennsylvania shut down and now have one location open as the state gradually reopens. But even in these tough times, I wouldn’t consider lowering wages, because my talented employees are at the heart of my business success and I can’t afford to lose them. I also support raising the minimum wage. People can’t spend money at local businesses like mine if they don't have it, which is why raising the minimum wage is all the more important now.”
Ashraf Hijaz, Owner of Beauty and Beyond (multiple locations across the South, headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama): “In Alabama, we don’t have a state minimum wage so we’re stuck with the low $7.25 federal rate. This puts our state at a real economic disadvantage. When people make more money, they spend more money, and that’s good for business. I already pay my own employees above minimum wage because they need it to live on, and with better wages they are more dedicated and productive. With Alabama and other states being hit so hard by COVID-19, I'd really like to see the minimum wage raised so our economy can bounce back.”
Nancy Greatrix Manley, Director of Human Resources at Room & Board (headquartered in Minnesota; multiple locations including in Georgia and Texas): “Raising the minimum wage is a vital investment in America, especially at a time when people are impacted by the pandemic. In 2017, we decided to pay our staff well above the minimum wage -- $20 and up for every position. This minimum applies to every person who works at our company, from cleaning staff to delivery. It’s good for our people and the financial success of our business. We’ve seen increased commitment, productivity, professionalism and very low turnover.”
To schedule interviews with business owners and executives supportive of an increase in the federal minimum wage, contact Cat Ulrich at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 630-7839.
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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