Business Owners Speak at Capitol Hill Event with Senators Harkin, Blumenthal and Stabenow and Deliver Signatures to Senate Offices
WASHINGTON DC, April 29, 2014 – Business owners delivered a statement with nearly 1,000 initial business signers nationwide and spoke at a Capitol Hill event alongside Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI), to urge passage of a $10.10 minimum wage. Business For a Fair Minimum Wage Statement signers range from leading brands like Costco, Eileen Fisher, Dansko, Ben & Jerry’s, New Belgium Brewing and Seventh Generation to smaller businesses like Zingerman’s, Vintage Vinyl, Lamey-Wellehan Shoes, Pi Pizzeria and independent Ace Hardware Stores in various states to business organizations like the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and the American Sustainable Business Council, which with its member organizations represents more than 200,000 businesses.
“Nearly 1,000 business owners and business organizations have signed Business for a Fair Minimum Wage’s petition because they understand that fair wages are not just good for working families, they are good for business,” Senator Harkin said. “Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 is a pro-growth policy that will put more money in workers’ pockets that they can then spend at their neighborhood businesses, helping to grow the local economy.”
Local statement signers Brian England, Owner of British American Auto Care in Columbia, Maryland and Amanda Rothschild, Managing Partner of Charmington’s Café in Baltimore, and Shannon Liss-Riordan, owner of The Just Crust Pizzeria in Mass., spoke at the event.
“We would not have had the success we’ve had since opening in 1978, or won awards like Maryland Small Business of the Year, without paying our employees a fair wage,” Brian England said. “Employers who pay inadequate wages now will see that a higher minimum wage will reduce high turnover and improve worker productivity and customer service.”
“Better pay at the bottom is good for the bottom line,” said Amanda Rothschild. “We see 30 percent revenue growth each year and are now expanding operations to meet growing consumer demand. We would not be in such a solid position without investing in our business, and employees are a business owner's number one investment.”
They and other business signers, including more from around the country below, argue that a higher minimum wage will increase productivity and consumer demand, reduce the strain on the social safety net caused by inadequate wages, and strengthen businesses and the economy. The growing list of signers may be found online where it is updated regularly: http://www.businessforafairminimumwage.org/Federal/Signatories-Current
Jim Wellehan, owner and president of Lamey-Wellehan Shoes, Auburn, Maine, said: “Paying fair wages at our six stores has helped us succeed where others failed – and win shoe industry awards like Retailer of the Year. The minimum wage sets a floor under worker wages, and wages, in turn, supply the consumer purchasing power that is vital to business. A higher minimum wage would have good ripple effects from local businesses to local schools. Our tax base would be sounder and our social safety net less stressed.”
Sherry Stewart Deutschmann, founder and CEO of LetterLogic in Nashville, Tenn, said: “It’s just not good business to pay people a wage that doesn’t even cover basics like food, housing, utilities and transportation needed to get to work. With our starting wage of $12 my employees have more money to spend at other businesses. We don’t count on other businesses and taxpayers to subsidize our profits by underwriting food stamps and other safety net assistance for our employees. Why should I be subsidizing the profits of companies that pay wages their employees can’t live on? A minimum wage raise is overdue.”
According to Holly Sklar, Director of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, “Today’s $7.25 minimum wage has less buying power than it had in 1950 and a third less than in 1968, adjusted for inflation. Businesses need customers who can afford their products. We can’t build a strong economy on falling wages. Americans across the political spectrum want to raise the minimum wage. It’s time for Congress to act.”
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.