For Immediate Release: November 19, 2013
Contact: Bob Keener, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-610-6766
BOSTON – Business owners support Senate legislation to raise the Massachusetts minimum wage for the first time since 2008. They believe that gradually increasing the minimum wage from its current $8 per hour to $11 by 2016 and then adjusting it annually for inflation, would be good for business and the economy.
"Minimum wage workers are more likely to earn their money locally and spend it locally," said David Warner, President and Co-Owner of City Feed and Supply, an award-winning market and cafe with 50 employees. "Raising the wage is good for the workers and good for the local economy. It is an actually true example of an oft-misused cliche - a rising tide can lift all boats."
“I have owned and operated a small business employing 37 people for nearly 23 years,” said Rachael Solem, Owner and General Manager of Irving House and Harding House in Cambridge and a recent Massachusetts Lodging Association General Manager of the Year for small properties. “My starting wage is $10 – leading to a more stable workforce and customer service I'm proud of. While the proposed $11 minimum wage would be higher, it will not affect my hiring practices. Businesses hire employees based on the need to use their work to make money. It only makes sense that those working are compensated fairly. This is a reasonable increase in the minimum wage given current and rising costs of living.”
“Businesses want employees that feel good about their work and come prepared to do their job in the workplace,” said David Starr, Co-founder of Berkshire Natural, a healthy snack and beverage vending company, in Northampton. “Paying people a wage that is not sustainable to support themselves causes stress, distraction and a loss of self-esteem. A fair wage goes a long way to creating a productive and sustainable workforce."
“Massachusetts is an innovation and knowledge based economy that requires an educated, informed and well prepared workforce, said Roger Freeman, CEO of Solventerra, a clean energy company in Boston. “As one of the most expensive regions in the nation, we need to raise the minimum wage to catch up with the high cost of living here."
“Raising the minimum wage makes good business sense,” said Holly Sklar, Director of Boston-based Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Today’s inadequate minimum wage impoverishes working families and weakens the consumer demand businesses depend on to survive and grow. At $8 an hour, minimum wage workers have much less buying power now than their counterparts had in 1968 when the minimum wage was worth $10.77, adjusted for inflation. We can’t build a strong economy on a falling wage floor.”
At the hearing before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development in June many business owners testified in favor of the legislation.
Among those testifying was Joseph Rotella, Owner of Spencer Organ Company in Waltham. He said, “As a small business owner, I strongly support raising the outdated Massachusetts minimum wage. When worker paychecks don’t even cover necessities, local businesses are hurt by low or falling demand for their products and our economy suffers. Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do for the wellbeing of our workforce, businesses and communities.”
Shannon Liss-Riordan, Founder of The Just Crust restaurant in Cambridge and Attorney with Lichten & Liss-Riordan PC, spotlighted the provision in the proposed legislation that would raise the minimum wage for tipped workers to 70% of the regular minimum wage. She said, “I know from many years of representing waitresses, waiters, skycaps and other tipped workers that they face two big problems – low wages and widespread wage violations made much easier by the abysmal $2.63 minimum employers are required to pay before tips. We are looking forward to showing from our own new restaurant, The Just Crust, that restaurants do better with poverty wages off the menu.”
“As a successful and market-oriented businessman, I know that an efficient business can easily accommodate a rise in the minimum wage in Massachusetts,” said Dean Cycon, founder and CEO of Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company in Orange, whose entry level wage is $11 an hour. “I am committed to the integrity of our business by treating workers respectfully and rewarding them fairly for their efforts. I am committed to the integrity of our local community by insuring that our workforce can afford to shop locally and keep the local stores in business. The overdue raise in the minimum wage will make a meaningful difference for the workforce and the economy.”
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage has launched a sign-on statement for business people supporting an increase in the Massachusetts minimum wage. It may be found here:
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage summarizes extensive research that refutes claims that increasing the minimum wage causes increased unemployment in Research Shows Minimum Wage Increases Do Not Cause Job Loss.
* Business owners available for interview in addition to those quoted. *
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a Boston-based national network of business owners and executives who believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense. www.businessforafairminimumwage.org
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