Main Street Business Owners Stand Together to Support Fair Wages and Workplace Policies

By Stephen Michael

Main Street Alliance business owners across the country are proud to stand with our partners in Oakland at EBASE to support raising the minimum wage and increasing access to paid sick days.

Rising income inequality is the moral and economic challenge of our time. Main Street business owners understand that small business success is directly tied to the economic vitality of the communities in which they do business.  The increasing wealth gap not only harms low-income people, it also creates a downward spiral of falling demand that hurts small businesses.

We know that consumer demand drives the Main Street economy. Our employees are our neighbor’s customers and when workers have more money, businesses have more customers. With an increased customer base businesses can hire more workers, in turn further increasing clientele. In this continuous cycle, increasing economic security for workers provides a boost to the bottom line of local small businesses.

Every job should be an economy-boosting job, which means jobs that pay a family-wage and provide access to basic workplace standards such as paid sick days. We all get sick, but not all of us have the time to recover—and that affects us all. By allowing our employees to earn paid sick days, small business owners increase productivity and save money in the long run. Employees who come to work sick are less productive and recover more slowly. They’re also likely to spread illness to co-workers, which reduces productivity and increases absenteeism. Earned sick days also help to retain good employees and keep turnover costs at a minimum.

At The Main Street Alliance, we’re excited that there’s growing support in cities and states throughout the country for necessary, common sense workplace policies and raising the minimum wage. Together we can help redefine “good business practices” and lift up the real voices of small business owners.