Business Owners Support $12 By 2020 Minimum Wage To Be Introduced Today In Congress

Eileen Fisher, Ben and Jerry’s, Zingerman’s Among First Signers On New Business Petition For Higher Minimum Wage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 30, 2015
Contact: Bob Keener, bob@businessforafairminimumwage.org, 617-610-6766

Washington DC – Business owners applauded the planned introduction today of new legislation to raise the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck since 2009 at $7.25 an hour – just $15,080 a year for fulltime work. Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is launching a new sign-on statement for business owners and executives supporting a gradual increase to $12 by 2020 to benefit business and the economy.

Senator Patty Murray (WA) and Representative Robert C. Scott (VA) are introducing legislation to increase the federal minimum wage in five steps to $12 by 2020 and then automatically increase the minimum wage at the same pace as the median wage beginning in 2021.

Gina Schaefer, Owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores, a group of ten Ace Hardware stores in Washington DC, Maryland and opening soon in Virginia, is representing Business for a Fair Minimum Wage at the press conference this afternoon with Senator Murray and Rep. Scott.

Schaefer said, “We've grown quickly to ten stores and 220 employees despite our country's economic downturn, and this would not have been possible without our dedicated staff. Fair wages help us attract and retain good employees, increase sales, expand our business and hire more employees. Gradually raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 makes good business sense.”

Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, said, “Today’s outdated minimum wage has far less buying power than it had in the 1960s, dragging down the consumer demand that drives Main Street businesses. We can’t build a strong economy on a falling national wage floor. Raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 will be good for business, customers and our economy.”

Chris Sommers, Co-Founder of Euclid Hospitality Group including Pi Pizzeria in St. Louis, MO, Washington DC, Cincinnati, OH and Miami, FL, said, "Business owners don’t create more jobs when they have more money in their own pockets thanks to low wages. We create more jobs when other people have more money in their pockets to spend at our businesses. Since raising our own minimum wage to $10.10 last year, our teams are performing better, costly turnover is down, sales are great, our customers are happier, and we’re expanding. Raising the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020 will be great for our business and great for the country.”

Sherry Deutschmann, Founder and CEO of LetterLogic in Nashville, TN, one of America’s fastest growing companies, said, “Our company has thrived with the belief that if we take good care of our employees, they will take great care of our customers. Paying better wages has helped our bottom line, not hurt it. We don't depend on other businesses and taxpayers to subsidize our profits by underwriting food stamps and other safety net assistance for our employees. When I pay a starting wage of $14 plus benefits my employees have more money to spend at other businesses. The very least other businesses can do is pay a wage that allows their employees to afford the basics. A minimum wage raise is overdue.”

Paul Saginaw, Co-founding Partner of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses in Ann Arbor, MI, said, “Since opening Zingerman’s Deli 32 years ago, we’ve grown to nine businesses employing more than 600 permanent staff with about $50 million in revenues. Paying entry wages our employees can live on has been important for our profitability and our annual compounded growth rate of 10 percent. Raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 would help break the cycle of wages holding too many working families in poverty and boost our economy.”

Inaugural signers on the NEW Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement include
Eileen Fisher, Ben & Jerry's, ABC Carpet & Home, Zingerman's, A Few Cool Hardware Stores, Earth Friendly Products/ECOS, Pi Pizzeria, LetterLogic, Uncommon Goods, Rhiza, Atwater’s, 2014 Illinois Small Business Person of the Year Metaphrasis, Beanfield’s Snacks, Sea to Table, Annie's Ace Hardware, The Longfellow Clubs, IceStone, Mom's Organic Market, Vintage Vinyl, Equal Exchange, Lancaster Food Company, Sun Light and Power, Irving House Inn, Dimo’s Pizza, Trolley Car Diner, 4 Seasons Christmas Tree and Produce Farm, Lamey Wellehan Shoes and many more.

* Business owners across the country available for interview in addition to those quoted. *

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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.

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