BFMW In the News

Cox News Service: Business forges unusual alliances

New coalitions lobby Congress on health care, environment, minimum wage.

By Marilyn Geewax
Cox News Service, 2/14/07

WASHINGTON - As partisanship chills the cooperative mood the new Congress enjoyed in its first weeks, frustrated business executives are working in unusual coalitions with labor leaders and environmentalists to push for compromises.

Consider a few recent examples:

McClatchy-Tribune News Op-Ed: Holly Sklar, Minimum wage raise is good for business

By Holly Sklar
Op-Ed Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune News Service, February 8, 2007
Copyright (c) 2007 Holly Sklar

The minimum wage is headed for a raise -- back to the 1950s. That's right, even after rising from $5.15 now to $7.25 in 2009, the federal minimum wage will still be lower than it was in 1956, when it was $7.41 in today's dollars.

The minimum wage was enacted in 1938 through the Fair Labor Standards Act, designed to eliminate "labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency and general well-being of workers."

The minimum wage was never meant to be the minimum the nation's worst employers want to pay. That would be as absurd as setting environmental policies to accommodate the worst polluters.

USA Today Letter to the Editor: Lew Prince, Wage hike's benefits

By Lew Prince, Co-Owner and CEO, Vintage Vinyl, St. Louis
USA Today, 2/9/07

Todd Stottlemyer, president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), reveals total ignorance of business when he claims raising the minimum wage to $7.25 by 2009 would force business owners to jack up prices by 40% ("Don't kill the golden goose," Opposing view, Thursday).

Toronto Star: Surviving on $5.15 an hour

Minimum-wage workers in the U.S. today have less buying power than counterparts did 50 years ago
By Tim Harper
Toronto Star, 2/5/07

ASHLAND, Va.–The last time the minimum wage was raised in Virginia, Khalil Shareef was a 12-year-old kid, perhaps heading down a path chosen by too many in his family.

Georgetown Voice: Editorial

Trying to catch ‘em legislatin’ dirty

Editorial, 2/1/07

If the “Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007” makes it through the Senate this week, and it almost definitely will, it will be the first increase in the federal minimum wage in a decade. And after ten years of watching the purchasing power of that wage fall, it is time to raise the bare minimum.

McClatchy-Tribune News: Minimum wage hike would be a good start

By Albor Ruiz
New York Daily News, Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News, 2/1/07

The Senate is set to pass legislation raising the federal minimum wage for nearly 15 million of the poorest workers in the country. Granted, a $2.10 an hour increase is not nearly enough, but it certainly is a small step in the right direction.

"The increase in the minimum wage is long overdue. I hope Congress and the President will move swiftly to enact sensible legislation that will demonstrate our nation's commitment to reward hard work."

These are not the words of a labor leader or a union activist.

Wall Street Journal: Wage increase clears Senate hurdle

By John Godfrey
Wall Street Journal, 1/30/07

... Some business leaders say, however, that the additional wages will increase workers' purchasing power, in turn boosting their companies' bottom line. For example, Jim Sinegal, chief executive of Costco Wholesale Corp., backs the wage increase. And while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposes the minimum wage rise, the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce supports it.

"We all lose when American workers are underpaid," said Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women's Chamber.

Washington Post: Maverick Costco CEO Joins Push to Raise Minimum Wage

By Lori Montgomery
Washington Post, 1/30/07

The chief executive of Costco Wholesale, the nation's largest wholesale club, yesterday became the most prominent member of a new organization of business owners and executives pressing Congress to approve an increase in the federal minimum wage.

Jim Sinegal, a maverick entrepreneur who founded Costco in 1983 and has resisted Wall Street pressure to cut wages and benefits for his 130,000 employees, said he signed onto the effort because he thinks a higher minimum wage would be good for the nation's economy as well as its workers.

Chuck Collins: Slapping The Invisible Hand

By Chuck Collins, 1/29/07

The Senate is scheduled to vote as early as Tuesday to raise the minimum wage for the first time since 1997.

The usual array of “Chicken Littles” have claimed a hike in the wage floor will be bad for business and hurt low wage-workers. Earlier this month, columnist George Will suggested that the “minimum wage should be the same everywhere: $0. Labor is a commodity.”

Journal Record: Oklahoma business owners support minimum-wage hike

By Marie Price
The Journal Record (Oklahoma City), 1/22/07

About 250 business owners, executives and association officials have signed a statement asking Congress to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour, where it has been since 1997. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a measure raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over two years. The U.S. Senate has yet to follow suit. About a dozen of the signers are Oklahoma business people.

Women's Wear Daily: Senate Expected to Add Tax Breaks to Wage Bill

By Kristi Ellis
Women's Wear Daily, 1/22/07

... Sen. Edward Kennedy (D., Mass.), a longtime champion of an increase who opposes the tax incentives, circulated a statement at a Friday press conference signed by hundreds of small-business supporters, including Eileen Fisher, president and chief executive officer of Eileen Fisher Inc.

"Higher wages benefit business by increasing consumer purchasing power, reducing costly employee turnover, raising productivity and improving product quality, customer satisfaction and company reputation," the executives said in the letter...

Stefani Greenfield, co-owner of Scoop, which operates 11 contemporary boutiques employing more than 350 people in New York, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, Texas, Connecticut and New Jersey, said she supports a higher minimum wage...

Statement by Lew Prince, Senate Press Conference With Sen. Edward Kennedy, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. George Miller


People who tell you that raising the minimum wage will hurt small business are flat out full of it. Low minimum wages do NOT help small business.

I run a small business. It's in one of the toughest industries in America. Since the year 2000, nearly HALF the music retailers in the U.S. have closed their doors. Many who failed were chains paying minimum wage.

Dow Jones: Top Senate Democrat Predicts Quick, Clean Min Wage Vote

By John Godfrey
Dow Jones Newswires, 1/19/07

...Speaking at a press conference with Kennedy, Lew Prince, owner of St. Louis's Vintage Vinyl, a retail record store, said a minimum wage hike would help his business by giving his customers more to spend.

Edward Kuntz, executive chairman of the board for Kindred Healthcare Inc. (KND), also backs the increase...