Just before Thanksgiving, the leftist think tank Demos issued a report by its own Catherine Ruetschlin advocating a $12 an hour minimum wage (stated as $25,000 per year by her) for those who work full-time in retail.
What's interesting about Ruetschlin's suggestion is that there is a retailer out there which is actually doing that and more -- and it's not Costco, which "pays starting employees at least $10 an hour." To be fair to Costco, rapid wage advancement is apparently quite common there, but that's off-topic. Perhaps surprising to the press, the company involved starts its full-time employees not at $12 an hour, but at $13. Perhaps if it spent less time trying to figure how to discredit this company, the establishment media might instead focus on how this company is able to be profitable under such a wage structure. Before identifying the firm after the jump, we'll first see in an open letter from its CEO why it's not getting favorable press attention (in full; bolds are mine):
When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn't much bigger than most people's living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God's word. From there, ________ by has become one of the nation's largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 locations in 41 states. Our children grew up into fine business leaders, and today we run _______ together, as a family.
We're Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I've always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God's laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that's what we've tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week's biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God's grace that ________ has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We've not only added jobs in a weak economy, we've raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.
But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don't pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don't cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million PER DAY in government fines.
Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that's raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running it’s business according to it’s beliefs. It's not right. I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it's the same for everybody. But that's not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won't exempt them for reasons of religious belief.
So, __________ and my family are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don't like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.
My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that's a choice no American and no American business should have to make.
The government cannot force you to follow laws that go against your fundamental religious belief. They have exempted thousands of companies but will not except Christian organizations including the Catholic church.
Since you will not see this covered in any of the liberal media, pass this on to all your contacts.
The letter is from David Green, CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
Starting pay of 80% above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour works out to $13.05.
Mr. Green is absolutely right that good aspects of his company, including how he pays and treats his employees, which the press would trumpet as enlightened if practiced at a secular company (e.g., Costco), is being ignored. A 9 p.m. ET Google News search on ["Hobby Lobby" "minimum wage"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) returns seven items. A Google News search on just "Hobby Lobby" (in quotes) returns 127 items (at first, it looks like over 8,000, but it's really 127).
Hobby Lobby is the kind of firm (there are many others in similar circumstances, I'm sure) with which the Obama administration and the Democratic Party have chosen to go to war in passing ObamaCare and attempting to force them to betray the principles which guide their owners' and executives' lives. Shame on the press for trying to portray people like David Green as the bad guys.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.