Faces of $15: Small Businesses and People They Employ are Real Victims of Minimum Wage Movement

New documentaries showcase lost jobs, reduced hours, and business closures from dramatic starter wage increases
  • Publication Date: November 2016

Washington D.C. – Today, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) released four new mini-documentaries featuring victims of dramatic minimum wage increases. As another round of coordinated minimum wage protests occur tomorrow, the consequences of dramatic starter wage increases — including lost jobs, reduced hours, and business closures — are playing out in real time. EPI has been documenting these consequences through its project Faces of $15. The stories featured in these new mini-documentaries include:

  • The Almost Perfect Bookstore in Sacramento, California, which was forced to close because it could not absorb the increased costs of the state’s forthcoming $15 minimum wage. Watch that video here.
  • ARGYLEHaus of Apparel in San Fernando, California, which is leaving the state for Nevada as a consequence of a state minimum wage rising to $15 an hour . Watch that video here.
  • The Del Rio Diner in Brooklyn, New York, which was forced to close because the owner couldn’t pass along the costs of New York’s minimum wage increase to his blue collar customers. Watch that video here.
  • Sterling’s Family Childcare in Oakland, California, which had to cut staff and hours as well as scale back a free rides service because of the costs associated with Oakland’s minimum wage increase. Watch that video here.

These stories aren’t isolated anecdotes. Over the weekend, The Arizona Daily Star reported how businesses and nonprofits in Flagstaff AZ, which raised its minimum wage to $15 on Election Day, could be forced to cut hours, significantly raise prices, and close their doors because of the increased labor costs. Last week, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that a local communications firm is moving 75 of its call center jobs to Texas, with California’s $15 minimum wage being the “deciding factor.” And local reporting in Colorado and Washington state from earlier this month also showcase small businesses reeling from Election Day minimum wage increases.

EPI will be releasing additional mini-documentaries of businesses affected by dramatic wage hikes in 2017. EPI previously released a documentary of a nonprofit Michigan restaurant that was forced to close because of a state wage hike.

“These stories are cautionary tales of the damage caused by extreme increases in the minimum wage,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at EPI. “Just because protesters ignore the consequences of dramatic starter wage increases doesn’t mean they don’t exist.”
For more information, visit EPIOnline.org. To schedule an interview, contact Jordan Bruneau at (202) 463-7650 or bruneau@epionline.org.

The Employment Policies Institute is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth. In particular, EPI focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment. EPI receives support from restaurants, foundations, and individuals.

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