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By Alma Cerretta
Lincoln Journal Star, Letter to Editor, Nov 2, 2022. See full op-ed in Omaha World Herald.

As a small business owner, I’m glad that minimum wage is on the ballot.

Initiative 433 gives us all a way to move Nebraska forward by raising the minimum wage.

When we opened Mana Games Café, we knew we wanted to avoid the low-pay, high-turnover, low-morale business model that’s been way too common in our industry – an industry that’s supposed to be about service and hospitality.

We pay more than the current $9 minimum wage because every worker needs that, and every single interaction with customers matters. Our team is the most important part of our business.

Paying fair wages is the single best way you can show your employees that you value them. In return, our employees are committed, productive and take great care of our customers.

Happy customers come back, and they bring their friends and families.

We have people stop by Mana most days asking us if we are hiring. They want to work at a business that’s a good place to work, and they want to work at a business that’s a good place to be a customer.

Fair wages make a business stronger. They also make the economy and our communities stronger.

Minimum wage increases are a two-way street. More money goes into workers' paychecks, and more money gets spent by workers and their families at local businesses. Mana also prioritizes buying from local vendors to sustain our fellow small businesses.

Initiative 433 would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2026 and then make annual cost of living adjustments so it does not lose purchasing power in the future.

I’m proud to stand with hundreds of business owners in the Nebraska Business for a Fair Minimum Wage coalition who know that raising the minimum wage is important for workers, businesses and our economy.

Alma Cerretta, Lincoln

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