BOSTON, March 13, 2014 – Massachusetts business owners joined U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez at a Cambridge retail store today for a roundtable discussion on the business and economic reasons for increasing the minimum wage in the state and nationally.
“What we’re seeing here in Massachusetts and around the country is the recognition that if you work hard and play by the rules, then you deserve to earn a decent living. For too long low-wage workers have been putting in the hours and the energy at one, two and maybe three jobs but are still falling behind, not even able to afford the basics,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “These workers deserve a raise, and the small business owners that I’ve met with here today in Cambridge agree. They know that more money in the hands of workers amounts to more money spent in the local economy which benefits businesses. Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do for workers, and good for the bottom line.”
Michael Kanter and Elizabeth Stagl are owners of Cambridge Naturals, in Porter Square, which hosted the Secretary’s visit and meeting with business owners. Stagl and Kanter said, “Today’s minimum wage has less buying power than it had in 1974, when we opened our store, Cambridge Naturals, 40 years ago. That’s not healthy for Massachusetts workers, businesses or communities. When the minimum wage is so low workers can’t live on it, it undermines consumer demand and weakens our economy. We pay a starting wage of $11 and see that investment in our employees pay off in lower turnover, better customer service and all-around better business. Increasing the minimum wage will be good for small business and good for our state.”
Glynn Lloyd, CEO of City Fresh Foods in Boston said, “We started City Fresh Foods in 1994 in Roxbury as a small take-out lunch operation and have grown it into a nationally recognized provider of affordable, fresh and healthy meals to childcare centers, schools, and rehabilitation and eldercare programs throughout Eastern Massachusetts. Making and delivering millions of high-quality meals a year wouldn’t be possible without our 100 dedicated employees, most of them from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Paying above the unlivable minimum wage has lifted our business, and raising the minimum wage will strengthen our economy and lift Massachusetts.”
Other business owners participating in the roundtable were: Dean Cycon, CEO, Dean’s Beans Coffee; Roger Freeman, President, Solventerra, Inc.; Shannon Liss-Riordan, CEO, Just Crust Pizza; David Sandberg, President, Porter Square Books; Joy Silverstein, Owner, Fresh Hair; Valerie Shulock, President, Basil Tree Catering; and Nicola Williams, President, The Williams Agency. The Roundtable was moderated by Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Director Holly Sklar.
NOTE: These and other business owners from across the state are available for interview.
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.