A new coalition of Florida business owners and executives – from retailers, manufacturers and cleaning companies to realtors, resorts and restaurants – released a statement today supporting Amendment 2, which would gradually raise the minimum wage, starting in Sept. 2021, to $15 by 2026. Business leaders, who continue to sign on daily, say it will boost consumer spending, strengthen Florida’s workforce and help the economy.
The Florida Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Statement, with more than 100 inaugural endorsers, says in part, “We can’t build a shared recovery on a minimum wage that’s too low to live on. Workers are also customers. Raising the minimum wage puts money in the pockets of people who most need to spend it. It boosts the consumer buying power that businesses depend on to survive and grow – a purpose of the minimum wage since it was first enacted to help us recover from the Great Depression.”
“Voting for Amendment 2 is a vote for shared recovery,” said Milana Walter, Business Campaign Manager for Florida Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Nobody has to raise wages overnight. Amendment 2 gradually increases the minimum wage over six years, starting next September. That gives businesses time to adjust – and experience benefits such as increased consumer spending, lower employee turnover, reduced hiring and training costs, and increased productivity and customer satisfaction, as the raise phases in.”
Florida Business for a Fair Minimum Wage members across the state commented today:
Claude Luciani, owner of Pizza Rustica in Hollywood, Fla: “I know I can count on my employees, and that starts with fair pay. The pandemic has reinforced how important dedicated employees are when it comes to safety protocols that protect our staff and customers. And the recent stimulus really brought home how more money in people’s hands means more money in the economy. Gradually raising the minimum wage will help my restaurant and businesses across Florida.”
Jared Meyers, owner of Legacy Vacation Resorts with four Florida locations in Orlando, Kissimmee, Palm Coast and Indian Shores, and Salt Palm Development in St. Petersburg; co-founder of Florida for Good: “All full-time workers should be able to afford their most basic needs of food, housing and other essentials. People should not have to work two jobs, borrow money or need government assistance just to scrape by. In my companies, we know that employees are more committed, engaged and focused on achieving company goals when they are not distracted by working a second job or continual financial worry. Amendment 2 will put Florida’s minimum wage on the path to a living wage, which is fundamentally good business.”
Scott Fuhrman, owner of Lakewood Organic in Miami: “People have been at the center of Lakewood’s success since my grandfather started our company. We pay a living wage plus benefits to everyone from our juice makers to our janitorial staff. We’re proud to have multiple generations of families working here and their loyalty and dedication make our business what it is. At minimum, all businesses should pay wages their employees can live on. Amendment 2 will create a more level playing field and help Florida workers, families and businesses succeed for many years to come.”
Fadi Dib, owner of Cali’s Beauty Supply, with three locations in Tallahassee: “Many of our customers earn low wages, and they can only afford to come in occasionally and buy one or two items. They have to prioritize life’s most basic essentials. Most businesses have a lot more customers than employees. When customers have more money to spend from minimum wage increases it will show up in the revenues of my business and others across Florida – from grocery stores and hardware stores to barbers, hair salons and restaurants.”
Leigh Anne Balzekas, co-owner of The Disco Dolls, a clothing store, hair salon and art gallery in Tampa: “Raising the minimum wage will boost businesses in two important ways: Employees who are paid fairly are better employees. And workers with more money to spend are better customers! We pay employees at least $13 plus commission, ensuring that everyone makes at least $15 an hour. That’s helped us grow and thrive. We don’t have the high turnover often found in the retail and service industries, which saves us from the significant distraction and expense of constantly recruiting and training new hires. When our employees are happy, our customers are happy.”
Michelle Mclelland, owner of Opal Industries in Alachua: “Paying a living wage isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s also the smart thing to do for business. With decent wages, employees can focus on their jobs without worrying about making rent, having enough food to get through the day, or not being able to get to work because they’re out of gas money. We’re in the sanitation and restoration business – and raising the minimum wage will help Florida recover and build a healthier economy.”
Ian James, CEO of WorkSquare in Miami: “Our advocacy for a fair minimum wage lies deep within our corporate vision. A vision that embraces a world where every person has the resources to achieve a life of purpose and financial well-being. We also know firsthand that a fair wage contributes to increased employee morale, productivity and retention. And with the economy down, this is a vital time to put more money in the hands of essential workers and boost consumer spending.”
Brianna Kilcullen, owner of Anact in Jacksonville: “I’ve spent my career in the apparel industry and long advocated for better wages and sustainable production. Now, as the owner of a sustainable textile company, I’m a strong supporter of Amendment 2. I’ve seen how when wages go up, you can see the positive impacts of better worker productivity and increased consumer demand. Raising the minimum wage will help my business grow and strengthen Florida’s economy for the future.”
Satchel Raye, owner of Satchel’s Pizza and Satch Squared in Gainesville: “At my pizza shops, we pay our employees a living wage and good benefits and that makes for good business. We’re able to attract the best employees in town and keep them. Our customers are happy knowing we take care of our employees, and that increases business. We want to see Florida raise the minimum wage and build a stronger economy for everyone.”
Florida’s current minimum wage is $8.56 per hour. Amendment 2 would raise the minimum wage to $10 effective Sept. 30, 2021 and then by $1 each year until it reaches $15 on Sept. 30, 2026, followed by annual adjustments to keep pace with the cost of living starting in 2027.