The current federal minimum wage, which is a paltry $7.25, is way too low. It’s virtually impossible to live on such low wages. For most full-time minimum-wage workers, affording a two-bedroom apartment is out of reach; finding an affordable one-bedroom is only possible in 12 counties nationwide.
That’s why Todd Carmichael, the CEO and co-founder of La Colombe coffee roasters and cafés, wrote an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer in support of the Raise the Wage Act. The bill would immediately increase the federal hourly minimum wage to $9.25 and eventually to $15 by 2024.
Common arguments against a higher minimum wage include claims that it would hurt businesses, but Carmichael uses his experience as a successful business owner to argue that companies that can’t afford to pay employees living wages shouldn’t be in business (emphasis mine).
I am living, breathing, profitable proof that raising the minimum wage is good for business and workers.
Our workforce, profitable companies, and consumers as a whole need a minimum-wage raise. If even profitable, growing concerns like a coffee-roasting company can do it, so can others. I’ll go even further and say that unless you pay your employees a nonpredatory living wage that keeps people and their families above the poverty line, you don’t deserve to be in business. And you certainly don’t deserve a tax break for creating predatory-pay “jobs.”
Not only should the human cost be enough to sway employers, but Carmichael argues that treating workers well literally pays off—and he knows firsthand.
You want to run a profitable business? Then look at what works: paying employees a livable wage. It doesn’t just make for happier employees, lower turnover, and a better tax base, it makes for happier customers who are willing to come back. It makes for a better bottom line. That’s how a tiny Philadelphia coffee roaster managed to spread nationally and grow into a $400 million market cap: by keeping people first.
The Raise the Wage Act of 2017 was introduced in April by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patty Murray (D-Wa.) with the support of over 20 Democrats.
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