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For Immediate Release: November 19, 2014

Contact Bob Keener, 617-610-6766,

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois business owners are calling on state lawmakers to pass a minimum wage increase during the legislative veto session. The state minimum wage referendum was widely supported by 67% of voters and many Illinois business owners believe that increasing the minimum wage makes good business sense. A recent national poll of small business owners with employees showed strong support across the political spectrum with 61% for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 and adjusting it in future years to keep up with the cost of living.

“Workers are paid so little with the current minimum wage that they can’t support their families or be a good customer base for local businesses,” said Robert Olson, Owner of Olson & Associates in Springfield. “Raising the minimum wage is a common sense key step to building a healthy economy.”

“As a small business owner, I know that running a business by keeping employees in poverty hurts economic growth as a whole,” said Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau, Founder and CEO of Dimo's Pizza in Chicago. “We need lawmakers to understand the value of a healthy employer/employee relationship and pass legislation like raising the minimum wage that ensures this relationship flourishes.”

Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, CEO of Earth Friendly Products in Addison and the manufacturer of ECOS, the world’s top-selling green laundry detergent, said, “Raising the minimum wage is essential to creating a truly sustainable workplace and economy. We lower our employee turnover and increase productivity at our company by paying a living wage and this money goes right back into the economy. To us, it is simply smart business, proving that a company can be good stewards of the environment, treat its employees with dignity and remain strong, stable and profitable.”

David Borris, Owner of Hel’s Kitchen Catering in Northbrook and a leader in the Main Street Alliance, said, “The overall economic recovery still suffers from a lack of vibrant consumer demand. I support a minimum wage increase for three reasons. First and foremost, without more money in the pockets of low and middle-income families, small businesses like mine cannot grow and prosper. Secondly, paying a living wage creates a more valued and stable workforce. And finally, it is simply the right thing to do. A fair days pay for a fair days work has been a profitable model for us for over 29 years.”

Tim Frick, Owner of Mightybytes, a web design and marketing firm in Chicago, said, “Providing a fair, livable wage to all workers creates stronger companies and supports a healthy economy with a growing rather than shrinking middle class, a vibrant local business sector, and solid consumer demand for products. It is smart, long-term thinking.”

“There is broad public recognition that raising the minimum wage is a win/win for businesses and workers. It will boost the consumer demand that businesses depend on, reduce costly worker turnover, increase productivity and customer satisfaction, and decrease the strain that poverty wages place on public assistance,” said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Nebraska, Arkansas, South Dakota and Alaska passed binding state minimum wage increases on November 4 and other states passed significant increases earlier this year. Illinois can boost business and the state economy by passing an increase now.”

NOTE: Illinois members of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage are available for comment and/or television and radio booking. Please contact Bob Keener, 617-610-6766,

Click here for the national poll of small business owners (PDF) showing strong support (61%) for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 and adjusting it in future years to keep up with the cost of living.

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, including Costco, Eileen Fisher, Ben & Jerry's, Dansko footwear, New Belgium Brewing, Vintage Vinyl, American Income Life, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance, Earth Friendly Products/Ecos, which manufactures in Addison, IL, and other Illinois companies such as Dimo’s Pizza, Mightybytes, Threshold Acoustics, BeachWatch LLC, Hel’s Kitchen Catering, Heartland Café, Kennedy’s Creative Awards, Paeon Partners, and many others.