The launch of a new campaign to encourage shopping and dining at San Jose businesses, which pay a $10/hour minimum wage, points out two often overlooked facts.
First, treating workers well is good for business. Various businesses have already raised wages, and the result is happier workers and better customer service. That’s not to mention the $70 million additional dollars low wage workers will put back into the economy when they spend their raises.
Second, the Labor Movement wants businesses to thrive. If a business isn’t doing well., it is less likely to provide good quality jobs with decent pay and benefits.
The business community and organized labor can and should collaborate on social justice issues. When the minimum wage increased to $10 an hour on March 11, the South Bay Labor Council and the San Jose Downtown Association launched a joint campaign to encourage consumers to patronize San Jose business specifically because those businesses are paying a higher minimum wage. The slogan, “Earn ‘n Spend in San Jose,” which you’ll see posted in business windows and upcoming ads, is designed to remind you that San Jose is a great place to shop, dine and spend.
I believe that most Silicon Valley business people are not ideologically opposed to the Labor Movement. In fact, business and labor should be able to agree most of the time. We all want economic development that benefits the whole community. We have a shared interest in policies like the minimum wage increase that promote the economic development. It is time to start thinking about a new policy initiative to improve the lives of working families. As we do, I hope we will continue to have collaborative partners in the business community.