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Washington, DC – Today, Seattle small business owner Makini Howell, owner of Plum Restaurants and a leader with the Main Street Alliance, addressed the White House Summit on Working Families in Washington, DC.
Following opening remarks from Vice President Joe Biden, Howell spoke about Seattle’s landmark $15 Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Days laws on the opening Family Matters Plenary. Video of the plenary is available here.
"The economy is built from the bottom up, not the top down," said Howell. "Every job should be an economy boosting job."
Howell cited public health as the number one reason she supported Seattle's Paid Sick Days law, saying "I don't want to serve you a cheap contagious flu with your sweet potato fries." Howell added that that the costs, which run "pennies per plate," are more than made up for in improved retention, employee morale and customer good will.
On the subject of Seattle's first-in-the-nation $15 minimum wage law, Howell discussed how small businesses would benefit from increased consumer demand. "My business' employees are another business' customers," she said. "In the first decade of Seattle's $15 minimum wage law, low-wage consumers will have $3 billion more to spend."
Main Street Alliance leader Makini Howell, owner of Seattle's Plum Restaurants.
Makini Howell Bio
Having grown up in the family business her parents started, Makini Howell is the Executive Chef and owner of the popular Seattle-based Plum Restaurants, a small business with 50 employees. She serves on state and national leadership committees of the Main Street Alliance, a network of state and locally based small business coalitions, through which she has been a leader in passing Seattle’s landmark Paid Sick Days and $15 Minimum Wage laws, developed in collaboration with small business owners, labor unions, non-profit, and community organizations.
Author of Plum... Gratifying Vegan Dishes, Howell has been recently featured on The Today Show, Queen Latifah, Better TV, The Talk, Self.com, Oprah.com, Los Angeles Times, People.com, Town & Country, Food & Wine, among others.
Background on the White House Summit on Working Families
Today, the White House Council on Women and Girls, the Department of Labor, and the Center for American Progress are hosting a Summit on Working Families to focus on creating a 21st century workplace that works for all Americans. The President, Vice President, First Lady, and Dr. Biden will participate in the summit.
Workplaces that make full use of the talented pool of American workers are essential – to a thriving and healthy economy, to enable businesses to stay competitive in today’s global economy, and to help all workers ensure the economic stability of their families. Too many working Americans – both women and men – are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet and respond to the competing demands of work and family. The summit will convene businesses, economists, labor leaders, policymakers, advocates, and ordinary citizens to discuss policy solutions that can make a real difference in the lives of working families and ensure America’s global competitiveness in the coming decades.
For more information, visit workingfamiliessummit.org.
The Main Street Alliance is a network of state and locally based small business coalitions. The Main Street Alliance and its state affiliates create opportunities for small business owners to speak for themselves on issues that impact their businesses and local economies.