Contact: Blake Case
email@example.com, (601) 832-6079
Feb. 28, 2023—A new and growing coalition of hundreds of businesses and business organizations across New York – from retailers, restaurants and other small businesses to farms, manufacturers and the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce – released a statement today supporting Raise the Wage Act legislation (S1978A/A2204A) to raise and then index the state minimum wage. Business leaders, who continue to sign on daily, say it will boost consumer spending, strengthen New York’s workforce and businesses, and help build a more resilient economy.
The New York Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Statement, with more than 200 inaugural endorsers and counting, says in part, “When people earn more as workers, they can afford to spend more as customers. Minimum wage increases go right back into the economy as spending at local businesses. Raising the minimum wage is good business. Raising the minimum wage pays off in lower employee turnover, lower hiring and training costs, increased productivity, and better customer service, which keeps customers coming back.”
“Our growing New York business coalition supports the Raise the Wage Act to raise and index the minimum wage because it makes good business sense,” said Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Local businesses do better when customers do better and their pay isn’t falling behind the cost of living. Research shows that minimum wage increases do not have negative employment effects. Fair wages help businesses hire and retain employees and deliver the responsive customer service that leads to repeat customers instead of lost customers.”
Phil Andrews, president of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, said, “Prices have increased but the minimum wage has not kept up. I see people going into supermarkets, and they go back out the door because they can’t afford things. We can’t sustain a viable economy this way. Raising the minimum wage boosts consumer spending, which is important for workers and businesses. Our programs help small businesses and workforce development. There is a strong connection between employee pay and employee retention. More experienced, better trained employees deliver better customer service and improve your business. Raising and indexing the minimum wage will help Long Island’s economic development.”
Johanna Dominguez, owner of Put a Plant On It in Buffalo, said, “New York needs a raise. People spend more money when they have more to spend. Raising the minimum wage will help small businesses in Buffalo and across our state. We provide better pay and benefits, and our employees provide the friendly service that customers love. Our staff retention is great and I have a drawer full of applications from people who want to work here. If a small business like ours can do it, everyone can. The return on investment is so worth it.”
“Minimum wage increases recirculate and help local economies,” said Jennifer Walls, owner of The Sweet Praxis bakery in Syracuse. “They boost small business sales and revenues. A minimum wage reflecting the cost of living is important for quality of life.”
Michael Lastoria, founder and CEO of &pizza, with locations in New York and across the Mid-Atlantic, said, “We are succeeding in the very competitive fast casual restaurant industry by investing in our employees. When you take care of your people, they take care of your customers, and your business thrives. We have better productivity, and save time and money by avoiding employee turnover. Our employees are our loudest brand ambassadors. When workers get a raise, it goes back into the economy through consumer spending. Raising and indexing the minimum wage is an essential investment in New York workers, businesses and communities.”
Freddy Castiblanco, founder and president of Terraza 7 in Elmhurst, said, “Nuestros pequeños negocios florecen cuando nuestros clientes tienen una buena capacidad de compra.” (“Our small businesses flourish when our customers have good purchasing power.”)
Mo Johnson, CEO of European Tailoring and Alterations in Albany, said, “I support raising New York’s minimum wage because we all benefit from it. It helps the community and helps me hire good workers. A fair minimum wage is essential to us all.”
“$15 is not enough in New York,” said Deepti Brambl, CEO of Kaylaan, a manufacturer in Floral Park. “People have to work too many hours and aren’t able to come to work rested or happy. Our higher pay shows in our good morale and retention. Raising the minimum wage will also increase consumer spending and strengthen the tax base.”
When New York enacted a $15 minimum wage in 2016, it did not include cost of living adjustments after reaching $15. The Raise the Wage Act sponsored by Senate Labor Committee Chair Jessica Ramos and Assembly Labor Committee Chair Latoya Joyner would fix this by incrementally raising the minimum wage to $21.25 with future annual adjustments so it does not again lose purchasing power as the cost of living rises. For perspective, the current MIT Living Wage Calculator says a full-time worker with no children needs to make $21.46/hour to meet basic expenses in New York State. The legislation has strong public support across the state, with 80% of New Yorkers supporting the proposal, according to a recent poll by Data for Progress.
The Raise the Wage Act (S1978A and A2204A) would increase New York’s minimum wage as follows:
In New York City, Long Island and Westchester it would increase to $17.25 on January 1, 2024; $19.25 in 2025; $21.25 in 2026; and $21.25 plus indexing in 2027.
In the rest of the state it would increase to $16 on Jan. 1, 2024; $18 in 2025; $20 in 2026; and $21.25 plus indexing in 2027.
Indexing would use the formula combining cost of living and labor productivity that has been used to increase the minimum wage Upstate. With labor productivity growth, workers produce more goods and services for a given number of work hours.
To arrange an interview with New York business leaders supportive of raising the minimum wage, please contact Blake Case at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 832-6079.
New York Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a coalition of business owners, executives and business organizations who support raising and indexing New York’s minimum wage.