Living Wage Is Good For Business
Source: http://www.responsiblewealth.org, Fair Use Statement
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For Immediate Release - March 29, 2000
(617) 423-2148 x13
Paying a Living Wage Is Good For Business,
New report documents benefits of raising pay
"The growth of my business is due to the high quality of my
bread, which in turn is due to the skilled employees I attract
and retain with good wages and benefits."
Jim Amaral is one of the successful business owners featured in a
myth-busting new report "Choosing the High Road: Businesses that Pay a
Living Wage and Prosper."
Over 40 cities and counties including Boston, Baltimore, Los Angeles,
Chicago and San Antonio have adopted living wage ordinances and over
120 living wage campaigns are underway.
"Choosing the High Road" shows why living wages are good for business,
as well as workers and communities. The report, published by
Responsible Wealth, is available on the web and in hard copy.
Despite the economy’s record-breaking nine-year expansion and
skyrocketing CEO pay, the typical worker still earns less, adjusted for
inflation, than in 1973, and over one quarter of American jobs pay less than
a living wage of $8 an hour. Below that wage, a 40-hour workweek leaves a
family of four under the federal poverty line, unable to make ends meet.
A growing number of business people are supporting living wages. Already,
over 50 business owners have signed Responsible Wealth’s new Living
Wage Covenant, pledging to pay their own employees over $8 an hour, as
well as to advocate in the public arena for higher wages for all low-income
"Choosing the High Road," by Karen Kraut, Scott Klinger and Chuck
Collins, debunks common arguments made by opponents of higher
minimum wages and living wages. It presents research on the business
benefits of higher wages: lower worker turnover and absenteeism, reduced
training costs, higher morale and higher productivity, and a stronger
Borealis Breads CEO Jim Amaral and five other business leaders profiled
in the report are available for interviews:
Krishna Fells, CEO of a high-tech firm, organized Small Business
Owners of Washington State (SBOWS) to support a 1998 ballot
initiative to raise the state minimum wage.
"I’d like to let you know that there are many small businesses that
support raising the minimum wage. The economic impact of not
having a decent minimum wage is detrimental to small business."
Barry Hermanson, CEO of Hermanson’s Employment Services,
pays his 200-plus temporary office workers $2 to $4 more per hour
than other temp services while keeping client billing rates
competitive through low overhead and low turnover. Hermanson is
co-chair of the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition.
"I've been able to save money by eliminating advertising expenses.
Word of mouth about higher wages and competitive billing brings
me good employees and grows the business. Our employees and
clients are our marketing department!"
Tim Styer, CEO of Urban Works, turned his Philadelphia contract
cleaning company into an employee-owned business paying the
area living wage over a dollar an hour more than the local
"We lose some bidding wars to competitors who shortchange their
workers, but we do better at keeping clients because of superior
performance by Urban Works’ employee-owners."
Judy Wicks, owner of the popular White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia,
pays her 100 employees well above local restaurant wages.
"Paying a living wage is difficult in the restaurant business, but I
encourage other owners to try it, because it can be done. The
traditional value system of running restaurant workers into the
ground needs to change in order to create a more fulfilling
workplace for everyone."
Hal Taussig is the owner of Idyll, Ltd., a $6 million Philadelphia
specialized travel business with above average profits along with
above average pay and benefits.
"The benefits we get from paying living wages include low turnover,
great staff spirit and dedicated employees helping us find ways to
other costs low and quality high."
Responsible Wealth is a growing network of over 450 business people,
investors and affluent individuals in the top 5 percent of income and wealth
who are concerned about growing economic inequality and working to
promote widely shared prosperity. Responsible Wealth is affiliated with the
national nonprofit organization United for a Fair Economy.
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