New Website “Faces of $15” Shows Human Side of Wage Debate

Minimum wage has another face. It’s the face of a protester holding the purple and yellow “SEIU” sign at protest rallies like those last Wednesday, but rather the face of a business owner forced to adapt his or her business model to comply with dramatic minimum wage increases.

Faces of $15,” a new website by the Employment Policies Institute, highlights these faces, which have largely been overlooked in the current minimum wage debate. These are the real stories of business owners raising prices, cutting staff, and struggling to stay open as a result of drastic minimum wage hikes.

Such faces include:

  • Sterling’s Family Childcare and a Salvation Army childcare facility: These Oakland childcare facilities have been forced to reduce employee hours and consider cutting some of its childcare slots, respectively, as a consequence of the city’s new $12.25 minimum wage.
  • Abbot’s Cellar and Source: These San Francisco restaurants were both forced to close as a partial result of the dramatic increase in labor costs associated with the city’s impending $15 minimum wage.
  • Borderlands Books and Comix Experience: These San Francisco bookstores have been forced to experiment with unique customer sponsorship models to cover the costs of the city’s minimum wage increase and remain in business.

These personal stories of the unintended consequences of wage hikes featured on this new website show the human side of the minimum wage debate, bolstering the overwhelming academic evidence that concludes that wage mandates reduce job opportunities. Before minimum wage activists continue to argue that minimum wage increases have negligible consequences, they first must face up to these stories on Faces of $15.