BFMW In the News

Syracuse Post Standard: Martin Rothenberg, Hike in minimum wage good for business, good for workers

By Martin Rothenberg
Opinion Today, Syracuse Post-Standard, May 31, 2012

I have been a small business owner in Syracuse since 1991. My first company, Syracuse Language Systems, developed and sold multimedia software, and grew from a start-up with a few employees to 120 employees when it was sold. My present company, Glottal Enterprises, makes medical electronics for speech and voice diagnosis and correction that is sold worldwide. It presently has five employees, but we are growing.

American Forum: Holly Sklar, Celebrate Minimum Wage 100th Anniversary With Raise

Op-Ed by Holly Sklar
Distributed in Mass. by American Forum, May 30, 2012: Fall River Herald News, Taunton Daily Gazette, Attleboro Sun Chronicle, Medfield Press, Providence Journal, more. 

Massachusetts led the nation when it passed the first state minimum wage law a hundred years ago on June 4, 1912. Today, it is a laggard.

Our state minimum wage has been stuck at $8 an hour since 2008. That’s less than the $8.46 value of the 1956 minimum wage, adjusted for inflation – and way below its peak value of $10.58 in 1968. Today, Massachusetts has a lower minimum wage than Vermont, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Yahoo News: Y! Big Story: What the minimum wage gets you

By Vera H-C Chan
Trending Now, Yahoo News, May 30, 2012 

What does $7.25 an hour get you?

These days, barely two gallons of gas. You'd probably have to work 30 minutes to enjoy a tall Frappuccino (maybe more if prices keep going up), although that's an indulgence when a box of diapers would cost about two hours of labor.

As the economy slowly rebuilds itself, talk about raising the minimum wage is, well, on the rise, and it has taken on more urgency in cities, states, and at the national level:

And while it's tempting to see this as a labor versus business dispute, coalitions like the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, which includes companies like Costco, support minimum wage increases.

Rochester City: Just getting by on New York's minimum wage

By Jeremy Moule
Rochester City Newspaper, May 30, 2012

Say you’re working 40 hours a week for minimum wage, which in New York is $7.25 an hour. Before taxes, your Social Security contribution, and other deductions, you’re making about $290 a week. That’s $15,080 a year.

Now, consider this: the federal poverty level for a single person is $11,070. For one adult with one child, the level is $15,130. So if you’re making minimum wage, you are at or near the poverty threshold. And critics say that those standards underestimate, often substantially, what it takes for people to be truly self-sufficient and to support themselves and their families.

La Hispana Tribuna: Empresas apoyan el aumento del salario mínimo en Nueva York

La Hispana Tribuna USA, May 29, 2012
Long Island, New York City

En una propuesta poco usual, líderes empresariales a través del estado de Nueva York hicieron un llamado al Gobernador Andrew Cuomo y al Senado estatal para que apoyen el aumento del salario mínimo, que fue aprobado recientemente en la Asamblea Estatal.

La cadena de grandes almacenes Costco, la Cámara de Comercio de la Gran Nueva York,  Eileen Fisher, HopStop, ABC Home, Buffalo First, Syracuse First, la American Sustainable Business Council y más de 200 dueños de pequeñas empresas del estado, firmaron una declaración conjunta en la que dicen que el alza del salario mínimo beneficiará a los negocios, a los trabajadores y a la economía del estado.

Syracuse Post Standard: It's Not Over Yet: Minimum wage hike deserves vote in state Senate

Syracuse Post-Standard, May 29, 2012

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave up on the minimum wage hike last week. He was premature.

Though he likes the proposed increase from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour, indexed to inflation in the future — and though the Assembly easily passed the measure, championed by Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan — Cuomo acknowledges the state Senate is the obstacle. ...

But if the opinion of voters — including business leaders — matters, Cuomo and Senate friends should reconsider.

New York voters want a minimum wage hike. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed 76 percent of respondents in favor, with only 21 percent opposed. Even Republicans favor a raise, 53-43. Upstaters are big backers, 75-23.

Washington Post: Time to fight for a minimum wage increase

Column By Katrina vanden Heuvel
Washington Post, May 29, 2012

The federal minimum wage is now $7.25 cents an hour, about $15,080 for a full time, year round worker. At that level, it means poverty wages for a family of three, and weakened demand for the economy. As Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan and New York’s bishops concluded, this leaves workers “on the brink of homelessness, with not enough in their paychecks to pay for the most basic of necessities, like food, medicine or clothing for their children.” ...

AP: Activists Renew Push to Lift Minimum Wage

Associated Press
Wall Street Journal, more, May 28, 2012

ALBANY—Advocates including the Occupy Albany movement and clergy pushing New York's proposal to raise the minimum wage are gearing up for the final four weeks of the legislative session. ...

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, is trying to turn overwhelming support in polls—even more than half of Republicans voters support raising the wage—into a tool to persuade GOP senators to support the measure.

Mr. Cuomo has said that he wants a higher minimum wage but that political passage is "not in the realm of the possible" this election year. Last week he said it's a tougher bill than legalizing gay marriage.

Legislative Gazette: Minimum wage 'not going away'

By Amanda Verrette
Legislative Gazette, May 25, 2012

Even though Gov. Andrew Cuomo has acknowledged the contentious minimum wage debate will likely not be resolved this legislative session, supporters of a $1.25-an-hour increase remain optimistic and continued to push for the measure late last week. More than 200 business owners and executives have signed on to a Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Statement, calling on the governor and the Senate to pass legislation to increase the state's minimum wage.

"We wouldn't be wasting our time if we thought it was a done deal," said Mark Jaffe, president and CEO of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Wage hike could help 10 percent

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, May 25, 2012

A report Thursday said 880,000 workers in New York — 61,000 of them in the nine-county Rochester area — would have higher incomes if the minimum wage were increased, representing about 10 percent of all workers in the state. ...

However, some business leaders indicated Thursday they support a minimum wage increase. Costco and the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce were among companies and organizations that signed a statement supporting an increase.

“At Costco, we know good wages are good business,” Jeff Long, a company vice president, said in a statement.

“We keep our overhead low while still paying a starting wage of $11 an hour.”

Read more:

AP: Some businesses support raising NY minimum wage

Associated Press, May 25, 2012

ALBANY, N.Y — Advocates for the poor are getting help from some business operators in their quest to raise the minimum wage.

Costco and small business operators statewide called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Senate's Republican majority to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour.

The bill is sponsored by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

But the Senate's Republican majority calls it a job killer.

A Costco executive said Thursday that the retailer pays a starting wage of $11 an hour and good wages are good business.

The business leaders say paying a better wage helps retain employees.

Newsday: Costco backs minimum wage hike in New York

By Ted Phillips
Newsday, May 24, 2012

... “The $8.50 proposal is something that would be very fair for all businesses big and small,” Costco senior vice president and northeastern region general manager Jeff Long said during a conference call. “Since the inception of the company we’ve always believed paying a fair starting wage — to allow our employees to progress through our wage scale — is the best way to grow our business.”

Long said Costco pays higher wages than its competitors which saves the company money because it lets them retain more workers and spend less on training new employees.

Gannett: Report: 880,000 Workers In NY Would Benefit From Higher Minimum Wage

By Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief
Gannett News Service, May 24 2012
Albany Times Union, Ithaca Journal, Elmira Star Gazette, Westchester Journal News, WGRZ, more 

ALBANY -- A report Thursday said 880,000 workers in New York would have higher incomes if the minimum wage were increased, representing about 10 percent of all workers in the state.The report from the labor-backed Fiscal Policy Institute comes as talks have stalled over increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour. ...