Passage of D.C. $15 Minimum Wage Will Boost Local Economy, Businesses

CONTACT: Erin Musgrave, 530-864-7014, erin@erinmusgravecommunications.com OR Bob Keener, 617-610-6766, bob@businessforafairminimumwage.org 

Washington, D.C. June 7, 2016 — Passage today of a bill gradually raising Washington, D.C.’s minimum wage to $15 by 2020 will bolster the economy and local businesses. The bill, which will adjust the minimum wage for the cost of living beginning in 2021, will create a more stable, productive workforce and increase the consumer buying power businesses rely on to thrive and create jobs. D.C’s minimum wage, now $10.50, is currently scheduled to increase to $11.50 in July.

Business owners supportive of a $15 minimum wage spoke out in favor of the bill’s passage.

Michael Lastoria, CEO and founder of &pizza, said, “I’m all for raising the minimum wage. The success of our company can be directly attributed to our employees feeling appreciated, engaged and supported. It’s a simple but critical concept: allow your staff to thrive, and your company will thrive. And community is just as important. Businesses should integrate themselves into their communities gracefully, thoughtfully, with consideration for the people and neighborhoods they serve so we all can thrive together.”

Gina Schaefer, owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores (among them Logan Hardware, Glover Park Hardware, Tenleytown Ace Hardware, 5th Street Ace Hardware, Woodley Park Ace Hardware and Adams Morgan Ace) said, “Raising pay at the bottom is good for the bottom line. When you pay your employees a living wage, you are showing them that you value their work, and in return they work hard, stay with us and help us grow our customer base. When the minimum wage goes up it puts money in the paychecks of people who most need to spend it – from making rent to buying things they could not afford before from the grocer, the pharmacy, the auto repair, and, yes, the hardware store.”

“Fair pay is a crucial part of the recipe for success at Ben and Jerry’s,” said Jeff Furman, Chair of the Board of Directors of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. “Gradually phasing in a $15 D.C. minimum wage by 2020 will help slower-adopting businesses transition to higher entry wages because it lifts the wage floor under all businesses affected. And it significantly boosts the consumer buying power that businesses large and small depend on. Raising the minimum wage is a vital investment in social and economic progress.”

Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys & Poets and Mulebone restaurants, said, “A $15 minimum wage represents a better and more sustainable way to do business. It will not only provide a more livable wage to all D.C. workers but also will create a windfall for businesses that will benefit directly from the added money circulating in the community — the proverbial rising tide lifting all boats.”

“Raising the minimum wage is smart business strategy,” said Scott Nash, owner and CEO of MOM’s Organic Market. “At MOM’s, we consider paying a higher wage not a burden, but rather a high-return strategic investment. Our workforce is more productive, engaged and dedicated. They are happier, have less stress in their overall lives, and feel appreciated and secure. Customers love shopping at places with engaged employees.”

Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, said, “It’s great to see D.C. join California and New York in raising the minimum wage to $15 to keep up with their cost of living and boost the consumer buying power businesses depend on to thrive and create jobs. This will result in a more stable, productive workforce, reduce the strain on public assistance programs from inadequate wages, and level the playing field for small businesses that are already more invested in their workforce and in D.C.’s economy.”

"Raising the minimum wage makes good business sense,” said Keith Mestrich, President & CEO of Amalgamated Bank. “We’ve witnessed how increasing the wage in New York and California has helped families and hardworking individuals to earn a decent living and meet every day needs. We’ve also seen how it has helped local business owners to sell more products and services. We believe that raising the wage helps in growing the economy, tackling the affordable housing crisis, and providing for an equal and just society."

“Raising the minimum wage addresses a large problem business leaders see with today’s economy: weak consumer demand,” said Bryan McGannon, Director of Policy for the American Sustainable Business Council. “Consumer spending is at the heart of our economy and with little to no wage growth, overall economic growth is slower, more uneven and much less durable. Our economy will be healthier when the rewards of rising worker productivity are again widely shared.”

These business owners and others are available for comment and/or broadcast bookings. To schedule an interview, contact Erin Musgrave at erin@erinmusgravecommunications.com or (530) 864-7014.

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