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Smart Companies Do What’s Right

G8w6NeDX_400x400I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at the helm of the Greater Madison CVB (today known as Destination Madison) in the early ‘90s. My community was vigorously debating whether to increase the minimum wage. Proponents pointed to hospitality workers as those most vulnerable and most needing the City Council to take immediate and decisive action.

Back then, the Minimum Wage was $5.15/hour. A cadre of Council members wanted to bump it to $7.75/hour. During the public comment portion, the GM of the largest downtown hotel got up to speak. Council Progressives licked their lips in anticipation.

I don’t think he actually used the phrase “bless your hearts,” but, in effect, that’s what he was saying as he explained that housekeepers in his hotel were already making close to $10/hour; that he couldn’t find housekeepers in Madison that would work for Minimum Wage.

I thought of that evening today as I read the piece in Skift Table that reported that McDonald’s has announced it will stop lobbying against Minimum Wage hikes for pretty much the same reason. Most of their stores are starting rookies at $10 or more…because they must to keep their doors open.

While I don’t dispute that there are some players in hospitality that should be paying their people more (a lot more in some instances), smart businesses don’t need Minimum Wage laws to do the right thing. And, those are the businesses that will survive and thrive without the heavy hand of government.

Just sayin.’

Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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