Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Time to act

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote as early as Tuesday to raise the minimum wage, and support is coming from what some might consider unlikely sources.
The usual array of "“Chicken Littles" have claimed a hike in the wage floor will be bad for business and hurt low wage-workers. Earlier this month, columnist George Will suggested that the "“minimum wage should be the same everywhere: $0. Labor is a commodity."

So it'’s surprising and refreshing when you meet small business owners and CEOs who believe the opposite: that competing on the basis of who pays less is a dead end.

"People who tell you that raising the minimum wage will hurt small business are flat out full of it,"” said Lew Prince, co-owner of Vintage Vinyl, a music retail business in St. Louis. "Small business owners know that keeping workers is easier and cheaper than finding and training new ones."

Prince and a growing number of small business owners argue that paying a decent wage lowers employee turnover, improves morale and is the right thing to do. "“Our long-term employees are way more likely to establish ongoing relationships with customers,"” said Prince.

Prince has joined several hundred business owners in signing a public petition of business owners and leaders who support a hike in the federal minimum wage. The effort is coordinated by the interfaith coalition Let Justice Roll and a network currently in formation called Business for Shared Prosperity.

Some of the well-known signers include Jim Sinegal, CEO of Costco; Eileen Fisher, CEO of apparel giant named after her; Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and Bill Foster, the cofounder of Electronic Theater Controls.

You can read more here. Please take action today and contact the local offices of Senators Clinton (518-431-0120) and Schumer (518-431-4070).