Contrary to Conventional Wisdom, Growing Numbers of U.S. Businesses Say Increase in Minimum Wage is Good for the Bottom Line
Contact: Ateqah Khaki or David Lerner, Riptide Communications, 212.260.5000
July 18, 2007, New York, NY – On July 24, for the first time in ten years, the federal minimum wage will go up – marking the end of the longest period without a raise since the minimum wage was enacted in 1938. Contrary to conventional wisdom, many American businesses are cheering the raise. The chief executives of Costco, ABC Home, Addus HealthCare, Eileen Fisher, the US Women's Chamber of Commerce, and small business owners in every state are among those saying a raise for those at the bottom won't hurt the bottom line. As Costco’s CEO Jim Sinegal, has put it: “Raising the minimum wage is good for business.”
The minimum wage is scheduled to rise from $5.15 to $5.85 next week; from $5.85 to $6.55 on July 24, 2008; and from $6.55 to $7.25 on July 24, 2009. However, the minimum wage has been so eroded over time that even with the new raises; minimum wage workers will have less buying power than minimum wage workers had half a century ago. Even after rising to $7.25 in 2009, the minimum wage will still be lower than it was in 1956, when it was $7.65 in today's dollars. It will be much lower than it was in 1968, when the minimum wage peaked in value at $9.56 in today's dollars. In states with minimum wages higher than the federal minimum, the number of small businesses and the number of small business employees grew more than other states.
Amy Ventura, co-president of Storm Graphic Arts in Montclair, Virginia, said, “The increase in the minimum wage is long overdue. Yet even the higher rate of $7.25 is an insult to workers and employers. Yes, small business owners must spend wisely, but this means paying our workforce a fair wage if we expect quality work. I want the federal government to recognize hard work and raise the minimum wage so everyone who works can support themselves and their families.”
In a statement with nearly 800 signers and climbing, business leaders from all around the country assert:
“Higher wages benefit business by increasing consumer purchasing power, reducing costly employee turnover, raising productivity, and improving product quality, customer satisfaction and company reputation. We cannot build a strong 21st century economy when more and more hardworking Americans struggle to make ends meet. A fair minimum wage shows we value both work and responsible businesses. A fair minimum wage is a sound investment in the future of our communities and our nation.”
“Raising the minimum wage is good for small business, the backbone of the American economy,” said Steve Fernlund, founder and president of Generation Three Logistics, based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Two out of three small business owners supported an increase in the minimum wage in a nationwide survey conducted by Small Business Majority in 2006.
Added, John Arensmeyer, CEO of Small Business Majority, “Most business leaders recognize that we need to focus our energies in building a strong, competitive 21st century economy that creates the jobs of the future. A minimum wage that promotes stability and economic prosperity is a necessary component of progress. It is time that traditional organizations who claim to represent small businesses recognize this.”
To arrange interviews with businesspeople around the country, contact Riptide Communications 212.260.5000.
Business for Fair Minimum Wage is a project of Business for Shared Prosperity, a new network of forward-thinking business owners, executives and investors committed to building enduring economic progress on a strong foundation of opportunity, equity and innovation.
FOR REGULARLY UPDATED SIGNATORIES LIST, please visit: http://www.businessforafairminimumwage.org/signatories.
FOR MORE QUOTES from business people supporting higher minimum wage, please visit: http://www.businessforafairminimumwage.org/Quotes