By Marie Price
The Journal Record (Oklahoma City), 1/22/07
About 250 business owners, executives and association officials have signed a statement asking Congress to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour, where it has been since 1997. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a measure raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over two years. The U.S. Senate has yet to follow suit. About a dozen of the signers are Oklahoma business people.
Jeff Brown is president of Homes with a Heartbeat Inc. in Oklahoma City, a family-owned real estate investment firm in business since 1927. "As a business owner, it's good for my business and it's good for the economy," Brown said. "It's good for business because it puts money in the pockets of people that live here locally and not in corporate accounts on the West and East coast. "
In addition to business owners, officials with groups such as the Small Business Majority and U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce signed the document. A group of signers appeared Friday at a news conference in Washington, D.C., releasing the results of the project thus far. "At $5.15 an hour, today's minimum-wage workers have less buying power than minimum-wage workers had half a century ago," the signed statement reads. "We cannot build a strong 21st century economy on a 1950s wage floor. "
Speaking at the news conference, Lew Prince, co-owner of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis, said "As a business owner, I know that keeping workers is easier and cheaper than finding and training new workers. The longer an employee stays with you, the more they know about your business and the higher their productivity. " Shalon Hastings is co-owner Taco del Sol in Helena, Mont. "We're overdue for a minimum-wage increase," she said. "It's a sign of respect for our employees and the work they do for us as business owners. " Venture capitalist Adnan Durrani, president of Condor Ventures in Stamford, Conn., said it makes sound business sense to raise the minimum wage. "I have found that, without exception, in the successful ventures we've backed, providing sustainable living wages yielded direct increases in productivity, job satisfaction and brand loyalty from customers, all contributing to higher returns for investors and employers," Durrani said. The ongoing project is sponsored by Business for Shared Prosperity and Let Justice Roll. More information may be obtained at: www.businessforafairminimumwage.org.
Copyright (c) 2007 Dolan Media Newswires
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