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Costco CEO, US Women's Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Owners Calling on Congress to Stop Holding Minimum Wage Hostage To Special Interest Lobbyists

Contact: Mahdis Keshavarz, Riptide Communications, 212.260.5000

February 1, 2007, New York, NY – After a decade of delay serving lobbyists who don't represent the best interests of workers or business, the Senate is finally passing a minimum wage increase with the support of fast-growing numbers of small and large business owners across the nation. Ranging from the CEO of Costco to the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce to owners of small businesses in every state, business leaders are telling the Senate and House to put a minimum wage bill now on the President's desk.

In a statement currently gaining momentum with 500 signers and climbing, prominent business leaders assert, "Higher wages benefit business by increasing consumer purchasing power, reducing costly employee turnover, raising productivity, and improving product quality, customer satisfaction and company reputation. We cannot build a strong 21st century economy when more and more hardworking Americans struggle to make ends meet. A fair minimum wage shows we value both work and responsible businesses. A fair minimum wage is a sound investment in the future of our communities and our nation."

"I'm sick of all the talk about business needing tax relief as compensation for a higher minimum wage. We don't need relief. Workers are the ones who need relief," said Stephen Zorn, Managing Partner of Castle Village Farm, with 250 partners and employees in Florida and New York. "We've gotten plenty of tax breaks for business and certainly don't need to pile more onto minimum wage legislation, that won't hurt business to begin with. In my business, we know people work hard, and we want to pay people enough to keep them. The minimum wage is about respecting the dignity of working people and paying people a decent wage. Raising the minimum wage to $7.25 over 26 months would only be a start."

Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, said, "It's a myth that small businesses can't pay a higher minimum wage, as proven already in the states that have raised theirs. When businesses don't pay a living wage all society pays. We pay through poverty and needless disease, disability and death from inadequate health care. We pay as women struggle to put food on the table. We pay as businesses and communities suffer economic decline. Two out of three minimum wage workers are women. It's time to stop giving endless airtime to business lobbyists who want to keep minimum wage low, which keeps women down."

Jeff Brown, president of Homes with a Heartbeat in Oklahoma City, a family-owned business since 1927, speaks for many businesses in states with minimum wages now set at the federal level of $5.15. "A minimum wage increase is good for my business and it's good for the economy. It's good for business because it puts money in the pockets of people who live here locally."

Business Owners and Executives for a Higher Minimum Wage is a project of Business for Shared Prosperity in partnership with the Let Justice Roll campaign to raise the minimum wage. Business for Shared Prosperity is a new network, in formation, of forward-thinking business owners, executives and investors committed to building enduring economic progress on a strong foundation of opportunity, equity and innovation.

To arrange interviews with businesspeople as well as low-wage workers around the country, contact Riptide Communications 212.260.5000.



-- Jim Sinegal, CEO, Costco

-- Margot Dorfman, CEO, U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce

-- John Arensmeyer, CEO, Small Business Majority

-- Eileen Fisher, Chief Creative Officer, apparel company Eileen Fisher

-- Bill Foster, Co-Founder, Electronic Theatre Controls

-- Elisabeth Gehl, Director of Public Policy, Business & Professional Women/USA

-- Jeff Milchen, Co-Founder, American Independent Business Alliance

-- Michael Kieschnick, president, Working Assets

-- Arnold Hiatt, former CEO, Stride Rite

-- Elliot Hoffman, CEO, New Voice of Business

-- Deborah Nelson, Executive Director, Social Venture Network

-- Doug Hammond, President, Relief Resources, Hatfield, MA & Co-Founder, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies

-- Erin McCallum, president, Arctic Wire and Rope Supply, Anchorage, AK

-- Suzanne Ball, Owner, Dixie Rod & Custom, Gulf Shores, AL

-- Kathy Webb, Owner, Lilly's Dim Sum, Then Sum, Little Rock, AR

-- Rick Keefe, President, R-Galaxy, Tucson, AZ

-- Robert Taylor, Owner, Channel Islands Data Supply, Camarillo, CA

-- Amy Lyman, Chair, Board of Directors, Great Place to Work Institute, Inc., San Francisco, CA

-- Marilyn Megenity, Owner, Mercury Cafe, Denver, CO

-- Heather Jernberg, Partner, Boreas Group LLC, Denver, CO

-- Adnan Durrani, President of Condor Ventures; Venture Partner, Blue Chip Venture Capital, Stamford, CT

-- Michele Salonia, Owner, Michele Salonia, DMD, Middletown, CT

-- Alison Houck, Manager, McBride Shopa & Co., Rehobeth Beach, DE

-- Stephen Zorn, Managing Partner, Castle Village Farm, Hialeah, FL

-- Crystal Hall, Owner, Lances Moving Co., Saint Petersburg, FL

-- Rose Marie Ray, Owner, Pamian Inc and Innkeeper (ret), Mansion House B&B, Seminole, FL

-- David Chastain, President, North Georgia Woodworks, Inc., Toccoa, GA

-- John Paris, Founder, Flyer Candy Bars/Paris Chocolates, Inc., Atlanta, GA

-- Gloria Faltstrom, Owner, Shaklee Authorized Distributor, Kaneohe, HI

-- David Hempel, President, Eble Music Company, Iowa City, IA

-- Gerry Queener, Owner, Calochortus Creations, Troy, ID

-- David Borris, Owner, Hel's Kitchen Catering, Northbrook, IL

-- James Jachimiak, Owner, Square Deal Contracting, Franklin, IN

-- Elias Awad, owner, Olathe Optical, Olathe, KS

-- Karla Lucas, Owner, Lucas Computer Repair, Hoxie, KS

-- Mary O'Bryan, Owner, Health Care Promotions LLC, Louisville, KY

-- Dimples Crosby, Director/Owner, C&D Productions/B&S Welding, Cut Off, LA

-- Diane Orgeron, President, Jefferson Marine Towing, Inc., Harvey, LA

-- Robert Glassman, Chairman, Wainwright Bank & Trust Co, Boston, MA

-- Ben Strohecker, Founder,, Harbor Sweets, Inc, Marblehead, MA

-- Kirsten Poole, Owner, Kirsten's Cafe and Dish Caterers, Silver Spring, MD

-- Michael Vermehren, Vice President, RF Technologies, Inc., Columbia, MD

-- Jim Wellehan, President, Lamey Wellehan Shoes, Auburn, ME

-- Michael Kitchen, Managing Partner, Waking Up, Warren, MI

-- Lorelei Kraft, President, Candle Enterprises, Inc., Park Rapids, MN

-- Lew Prince, Co-Owner, Vintage Vinyl, St. Louis, MO

-- Maureen (Mo) Costello, Owner, Mokabes Coffeehouse, St. Louis, MO

-- John Wiles III, Business Manager, Kevin Stewart Ms. Ops. Inc., Olive Branch, MS

-- Shalon Hastings, Owner, Taco del Sol, Helena, MT

-- Brian Smith, Managing Partner, Blackfoot River Brewing Company LLC, Helena, MT

-- Jane & Donald Gilbert, Owners, Gilbert Farm, Leland, NC

-- David Kirkpatrick, Managing Director, SJF Ventures, Durham, NC

-- Jerod Hawk, Owner, Amega Computers, Bismark, ND

-- Daryl Wetzel, Owner, DW Meats, Bismark, ND

-- Don Reeves, Owner & Policy Consultant, Farm, Central City, NE

-- Charles Henderson, President, Chuck Roast Equipment Inc., Conway, NH

-- Don Brueggemann, Manager, Bagel Works, Concord, NH

-- Paul Lightfoot, President & CEO, AL Systems, Inc, Rockaway, NJ

-- Dianne Hartshom, President, The Hartshorn Group, Parsippany, NJ

-- Mike Logghe, Owner/Contractor, Logghe Enterprises, Espanola, NM

-- Alex Von Bidder, President, The Four Seasons Restaurant, NY

-- Ajax Greene, Co-founder, On Belay Business Advisors, New Paltz, NY

-- Peter Strugatz, Co-Ceo, IceStone LLC, Brooklyn, NY

-- Roy Eastman, Owner, Electroshield Inc, Yellow Springs, OH

-- Kathleen Goggin, Owner, Massage Connection LLC, Cleveland, OH

-- Jeff Brown, President, Homes with a Heartbeat, Oklahoma City, OK

-- Ron Siegman, Owner, Natural Lawn of America, Oklahoma City, OK

-- Gary Theilen, Owner, Theilen Farms & Cattle, Enid, OK

-- Jody Wiser, Former Owner, RoadRunner Ranch, Inc., Portland, OR

-- Mark Fritch, Owner, Mark Fritch Log Homes, Sandy, OR

-- Judy Wicks, Owner, White Dog Cafe; Co-Chair, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

-- C. Dale Hendricks, President, North Creek Nurseries, Inc, Landenberg, PA

-- Faye Gadsden, President & CEO, FLG Consulting LLC, Cumberland, RI

-- Benson Bagwell, Doctor, Benson L. Bagwell, Family Dentistry, Clemson, SC

-- Mary Keller, Owner/partner, Keller Law Office, Huron, SD

-- Richard N Johnson, President, Associated Merchant Services, Inc, Nashville, TN

-- Bert Bornblum, Owner (retired), Bert's and Greg's clothing stores, Memphis, TN

-- Bernard Rapoport, Chairman Emeritus, American Income Life Insurance Company, Waco, TX

-- Brian Kurtz, owner, Sound Mind Audio-Austin, Austin, TX

-- Sue Martin, Owner, Co-Creative Works LLC, Salt Lake City, UT

-- Amy Ventura, Co-President, Storm Graphic Arts, Montclair, VA

-- Mehran Ebrahimi, Owner, Pioneer Motors, Arlington, VA

-- Jeffrey Hollender, President, Seventh Generation, Burlington, VT

-- Cheryl Broetje, Co-Owner, Broetje Orchards, Prescott, WA

-- John Moltz, Manager, Giant Squid Productions LLC, Tacoma, WA

-- Gary Lemke, Owner, Gary L. Lemke Landscaping, Potter, WI

-- Lin Clousing, Legislative Chair, Business & Professional Women/WI, Thiensville, WI

-- Terrell Ellis, President, Terrell Ellis & Associates, Inc., Charleston, WV