From Costco, Dansko, Eileen Fisher and New Belgium Brewing to Small Businesses Nationwide, Business Leaders Say Minimum Wage Increase Good for Business
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 12, 2014
Contact: Bob Keener, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-610-6766
Washington DC – Business for a Fair Minimum Wage members are at the White House as President Obama signs the Executive Order establishing a $10.10 minimum wage for federal contractors and are calling on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10. Hundreds of business organizations, owners and executives – from Costco, Eileen Fisher, Dansko, New Belgium Brewing and Ben & Jerry’s to Organic Valley, American Income Life, Parnassus Investments, Zingerman’s, Spectronics Corporation, UnCommon Goods and small businesses across the nation – have signed the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement supporting a minimum wage increase, and more are signing every day.
Jon Cooper president of Spectronics Corporation, which has been awarded numerous federal contracts over the years from the U.S. military, U.S. Postal Service and other agencies, said, “If a company is getting a contract paid for by taxpayer dollars, it’s only right that they pay a $10.10 minimum wage. Congress should move now to pass a $10.10 minimum wage for all Americans. Fair wages are part of the formula for success at my company, the world’s leading manufacturer of ultraviolet equipment and fluorescent materials. Raising the minimum wage will help America succeed as well.”
“We can’t build a strong economy on downwardly mobile wages,” said Holly Sklar, Director of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Today’s $7.25 minimum wage is the same as it was in 1950 and a third less than in 1968, adjusting for inflation. Harry Truman and Richard Nixon would both be shocked. Workers are also consumers. Today’s minimum wage impoverishes working families and undermines the consumer demand that businesses depend on to survive and grow.”
Attending the Executive Order signing today, Denise Bowyer, Vice President of American Income Life, headquartered in Waco, Texas, said, “Raising the minimum wage is a common sense step to insuring a stronger economy. Workers with more money in their pockets to spend at local businesses is a win/win. Raising the minimum wage increases consumer purchasing power, which is essential for job creation and revitalizing our economy.”
Also attending the Executive Order signing is Bryan McGannon, Deputy Director of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), which is a lead signer on the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Statement and, through its partner organizations, represents more than 200,000 businesses. Mr. McGannon said, “Raising the minimum wage addresses the largest problem business leaders see with today’s economy: weak demand. In independent polling released by ASBC and other business organizations, the top concern of small business owners was the lack of consumer spending. A minimum wage increase puts additional dollars in the hands of workers who are most likely to spend those dollars on needed products and services that businesses provide.”
Paul Saginaw, co-owner of Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, MI, said, “We’ve grown since opening Zingerman’s Delicatessen almost 32 years ago to eight businesses employing 625 permanent staff with revenues just under $50 million dollars. Paying entry wages our employees can live on has contributed to our profitability and our annual compounded growth rate of 10 percent. Raising the minimum wage would help break the cycle of wages holding too many working families in poverty and boost our economy.”
Today, the White House also released a report, “The Economic Case for Raising the Minimum Wage,” which echoes the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement in noting, “The minimum wage would help businesses by increasing productivity and reducing turnover and absenteeism.”
As Craig Jelinek, president and CEO of Costco, said in signing the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement, “At Costco, we know that paying employees good wages makes good sense for business. We pay a starting hourly wage of $11.50 in all states where we do business. Instead of minimizing wages, we know it’s a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty.”
“The notion that raising the minimum wage will hurt business and kill jobs is just bunk,” said John Shepley co-owner of Emory Knoll Farms, Maryland. “If my small nursery in rural Harford County can profit and grow when paying a starting wage of $10, there’s no reason any viable business cannot do that. Paying a decent starting wage gives us big ripple effects in improved efficiency, customer service and quality. Minimum wage workers typically need to spend 100 percent of their take-home pay. When the minimum wage goes up it boosts the customer demand that businesses need to grow and hire.”
The Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement now gathering signatures can be found at: http://www.businessforafairminimumwage.org/Federal-Sign-On-Statement.
* Business owners available for interview in addition to those quoted. *
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.