Illinois Business Owners Applaud Chicago Minimum Wage Hike, Support State Increase

For Immediate Release: December 2, 2014
Contact Bob Keener, 617-610-6766, bob@businessforafairminimumwage.org

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois business leaders and owners, including the Illinois Small Business Person of the Year, applauded today’s minimum wage increase in Chicago and called on state lawmakers to pass legislation to gradually raise the Illinois state minimum wage to $11.

Elizabeth Colon, Illinois 2014 Small Business Person of the Year and President of Metaphrasis Language & Cultural Solutions in Chicago, said, "I support raising our state and city minimum wage because giving low-income households more money to spend will be a direct boost to all businesses in the community. I grew up in a low-wage family and have worked in low-wage jobs myself and I know firsthand how hard it is when wages are too low. Think of raising the minimum wage as economic development that doesn't depend on government spending."

“As a small business owner, I strongly support a minimum wage increase in Chicago and also statewide. It will be good for our business and the local economy,” said Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau, Founder and CEO of Dimo's Pizza in Chicago. “Our business has prospered by valuing our employees with a starting wage that allows them to support themselves. We need lawmakers to understand what our business has proven: that a strong minimum wage is a key ingredient of economic growth."

Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, a national business organization with members in Illinois, released a statement today by its CEO Holly Sklar, who said, “There is broad public recognition that raising the minimum wage is a win/win for businesses and workers. It will boost the consumer demand that businesses depend on, reduce costly worker turnover, increase productivity and customer satisfaction, and decrease the strain that poverty wages place on public assistance. Nebraska, Arkansas, South Dakota and Alaska passed binding state minimum wage increases on November 4 and other states passed significant increases earlier this year. Illinois can boost business and the state economy by passing an increase now.”

On a teleconference call with Senator Dick Durbin yesterday, David Borris, Owner of Hel’s Kitchen Catering in Northbrook and a member of the Main Street Alliance as well as Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, said, “The overall economic recovery still suffers from a lack of vibrant consumer demand. I support a minimum wage increase for three reasons. First and foremost, without more money in the pockets of low and middle-income families, small businesses like mine cannot grow and prosper. Secondly, paying a living wage creates a more valued and stable workforce. And finally, it is simply the right thing to do. A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work has been a profitable model for us for over 29 years.”

In a letter to the editor published yesterday in the Daily Herald, Tim Frick, Owner of Mightybytes, a web design and marketing firm in Chicago, said, “As a business owner in the Chicago area, I'm tired of hearing politicians and pundits claim that raising the minimum wage will hurt small business to justify their own opposition. Nothing could be further from the truth. Raising the minimum wage is smart business and smart policy to jump-start our economy now and strengthen it for the long term."

In November, the Illinois minimum wage referendum was supported by 67% of voters. Nationally, a recent poll of small business owners with employees showed strong support across the political spectrum with 61% in favor of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 and adjusting it in future years to keep up with the cost of living.

Illinois members of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage are available for comment and/or television and radio booking. Please contact Bob Keener, 617-610-6766, bob@businessforafairminimumwage.org.

Click here for the national poll of small business owners (PDF) showing strong support (61%) for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 and adjusting it in future years to keep up with the cost of living.

Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a national network of business owners and executives who believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense, including Costco, Eileen Fisher, Ben & Jerry's, Dansko footwear, New Belgium Brewing, Vintage Vinyl, American Income Life, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance, Earth Friendly Products/Ecos, which manufactures in Addison, IL, and other Illinois companies such as Metaphrasis Language & Cultural Solutions (President Elizabeth Colon is Illinois 2014 Small Business Person of the Year), Dimo’s Pizza, Mightybytes, Threshold Acoustics, BeachWatch LLC, Hel’s Kitchen Catering, Heartland Café, Kennedy’s Creative Awards, Paeon Partners, and many others.

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