Business Leaders Join Members of Congress Urging Increase; Launch New Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Petition
Washington DC, July 24, 2013 – Business owners urge a minimum wage increase to strengthen the economy as today marks four years without a raise. The current $7.25 federal minimum wage is lower than it was in 1956 at $8.58, adjusted for inflation. Today’s minimum wage workers have far less buying power than their counterparts did in 1968 when the minimum wage was at its highest value of $10.74, adjusted for inflation. “We cannot build a strong economy with wages worth less than they were half a century ago,” said Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Director Holly Sklar.
Jon Cooper, the Owner of Spectronics Corporation in New York, who is appearing today with Sen. Gillibrand (NY), Sen. Casey (PA), Rep. Miller (CA) and Rep. Edwards (MD) at a Capitol Hill Press Conference, said, “Employers who pretend they can’t pay a minimum wage equivalent to what their counterparts paid in the 1960s should be ashamed of themselves. 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.”
Dan Preston, Co-Owner of Telequest Inc. in New Jersey, said, “The best way to boost the economy is from the bottom up, rewarding hardworking people who are scraping by on minimal, stagnant wages. Henry Ford figured this out a century ago: Pay workers a reasonable wage, and they’ll be able to buy your products and make everyone better off.”
“I want my employees concentrating on our customers, not worrying how they will afford to pay rent or put food on their own table,” said Amanda Rothschild, Co-Owner and Manager of Charmington’s café in Baltimore. “We’ve paid our employees more than the minimum wage from the day we opened, and that’s helped our business succeed. We have low turnover, which saves us money and improves productivity and quality. If my small restaurant can pay higher entry wages, certainly the big chains can too.”
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage has launched a new sign-on statement for businesspeople supporting an increase in the federal minimum wage. Lead signers include Costco, Eileen Fisher, ABC Home, and small business owners including those quoted here.
Amy Chender, Chief Operating Officer of retailer ABC Home, with stores in Florida, New York and New Jersey, said, “A minimum wage increase will put a stronger foundation under our economy. Wages are a basic cost of business and like energy, transportation and other expenses, costs change over time. The minimum wage must increase to reflect the rising cost of living. ABC Home pays well above the current minimum wage to all our hundreds of employees and we are ardently committed to supporting an overdue minimum wage raise.”
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage supported the last increase in the minimum wage and believes another makes good business sense. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would gradually raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 in three annual steps of 95 cents each and then provide annual adjustments for inflation.
“The minimum wage would be over $10 already if it had kept up with the rising cost of living since the 1960s instead of falling way behind,” said Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Director Holly Sklar. “Minimum wage critics know that most Americans think a fulltime job should keep you out of poverty, so they cloak justification of poverty wages in the myth that increasing minimum wage increases unemployment. In fact, as we point out in Research Shows Minimum Wage Increases Do Not Cause Job Loss, the most rigorous studies of the impact of actual minimum wage increases show they do not reduce employment.”
Camille Moran, Owner of Caramor Industries in Louisiana, which includes Four Seasons Christmas Tree Farm, said, “If I don’t pay my employees a decent wage they won’t have money to spend at other businesses, and if other businesses don’t pay their workers a decent wage, they can’t afford to buy my trees and I can’t afford to hire more employees. Our lowest paid employees already earn at least $10 and we provide better product at competitive prices with big box stores. Raising the minimum wage is good economics.”
Jeff Furman, Chair of Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors, said, “I support a living wage economically, morally and with deep conviction. I support raising the federal minimum wage as an important step in that direction. At Ben & Jerry’s, we pay $16.13 to start and adjust our entry pay regularly to assure it is a living wage.”
* Business owners available for interview in addition to those quoted above. *
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. www.businessforafairminimumwage.org