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Business for a Fair Minimum Wage releases new business sign-on statement with nearly 500 inaugural signers – from Ben & Jerry’s, &pizza, Room & Board, Stonyfield, Beauty & Beyond, Legacy Vacation Resorts, A Few Cool Hardware Stores, the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce and many more – supporting a $15 federal minimum wage
Feb. 25, 2021 — A growing coalition of nearly 500 businesses and business organizations nationwide is calling on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. The co-owner of New Hampshire-based manufacturer W.S. Badger Company testified before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business on Wednesday in support of the Raise the Wage Act. Business for a Fair Minimum Wage coalition members – including mom-and-pop small businesses, restaurants, large retailers, manufacturers, and more – say raising the minimum wage will boost consumer spending, strengthen the nation’s workforce and businesses, and help the economy recover from the fallout of Covid-19.
“Raising the minimum wage will help small businesses like my members across the country,” said Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce. “The low-wage business model is costly in terms of high turnover, lost productivity and workers and their families living in poverty. Raising the minimum wage helps level the playing field for businesses that pay fairly and are invested in local communities. When workers make more money they’ll spend it at businesses up and down Main Street – from the grocer to the hardware store, from restaurants to child care.”
“The federal minimum wage was born in the hard times of the Great Depression,” said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “It helped our nation recover by raising wages and boosting the consumer buying power that businesses depend on to survive and grow. Unfortunately, the minimum wage has become a poverty wage instead of an anti-poverty wage. It doesn’t help businesses if their customers are working poor – wherever they work. We can’t build a shared recovery and strong economy on a minimum wage that’s too low to live on.”
“I scream, you scream, we all scream for a national $15 an hour minimum wage,” said Ben & Jerry’s CEO Matthew McCarthy. “Ben & Jerry’s has been dedicated to paying its employees a livable wage because it is the right thing to do and we’ve proven it is good for business. We similarly support that all businesses show all employees the love and recognition they deserve.”
“New Hampshire’s adherence to the $7.25 federal minimum wage hasn’t helped businesses,” Rebecca Hamilton, Co-Owner of W.S. Badger Company, said during her testimony before Congress on Wednesday. “Badger has thrived by following a different model. We support raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 for businesses of all sizes and in all regions. Low wages hold back business and economic growth and hamper employee and community well-being.”
Adam Orman, Owner/GM of L’Oca d’Oro Restaurant in Austin, Texas, said, “As a restaurant long paying over the minimum wage to our employees we can testify it’s good for business. Better morale and less turnover saves money and is better for customers. Everyone likes working with a staff that’s like family and you create relationships with your guests that are priceless. The community bonds we forged before the pandemic have been vital in navigating through the pandemic. Raising the minimum wage to $15 for all workers in Texas and around the country will help us build the more equitable and sustainable economy we need.”
The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009 – the longest period without a raise in history. Today’s minimum wage has far less buying power than it had at its peak value in 1968, when it was worth $12.24 in today’s dollars. The minimum wage has shrunk in value, rather than grown, despite the economy’s significant growth since 1968. The Raise the Wage Act would increase the federal minimum wage to $9.50 in 2021, $11 in 2022, $12.50 in 2023, $14 in 2024 and $15 in 2025.
“Workers are also customers,” the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Statement says. “Raising the minimum wage is a powerful way to boost the economy because it puts money in the pockets of people who most need to spend it.” In addition to increased consumer demand, “Raising the minimum wage pays off in lower turnover, reduced hiring and training costs, fewer errors, increased productivity, and better customer service.”
Here are more of the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage members speaking out today:
Ashraf Hijaz, Owner of Beauty and Beyond (headquartered in Montgomery, AL with 28 locations across Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas): “Most of my stores are located in states where the minimum wage is only $7.25 an hour, and many of my customers are working for wages that are just too low. I know they would spend more money if they made more money. Raising the federal minimum wage will help our economy bounce back from Covid-19 and put our nation on the path to a strong recovery.”
Michael Lastoria, CEO of &pizza, growing fast with locations in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania: “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.”
Ji Hye Kim, Owner of Miss Kim restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan: “We pay everyone well above minimum wage. We work as one team to deliver the good food and guest experience that turns customers into regulars. Our better pay and staff morale have helped us get through the awful pandemic in a more stable, equitable and healthier way. Restaurants should welcome phasing out the tip wage and raising the federal minimum wage to $15 for all workers, whatever their job. With a higher minimum wage, businesses will have more customers who can afford what we offer.”
Nancy Greatrix Manley, Director of Human Resources at Room & Board (headquartered in Minnesota; multiple locations including in Georgia and Texas): “At Room & Board, people are at the heart of our success. That’s why we support the effort for a fair minimum wage. As our country continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to invest in American workers and families by raising the minimum wage. No one who works a full-time job should struggle to provide for themselves and those they love. Since 2017, Room & Board has been paying our staff $20 and up for every position. This salary minimum applies to every person who works at our company. It’s been good for business, good for our staff members and good for the communities where we live and work.”
Johnny Martinez, Co-Owner of Georgia Beer Garden and Joystick Gamebar in Atlanta, Georgia: “Georgians can’t keep waiting for individual businesses to raise their wages one by one. We’ve seen the bottom-line benefits of taking care of our employees. But what would benefit our business even more is if our customers had more money because all businesses paid decent wages. We need a strong wage floor throughout the United States. Raising the minimum wage is good business and good economic policy. Congress, raise the minimum wage. It’s long past time.”
See the growing list of signers here: https://www.businessforafairminimumwage.org/Federal/Signers15
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 on Twitter at @MinimumWageBiz
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