Michele Sisk, owner of Tiki Tails Dog Salon in Auburn, got involved with Main Street Alliance this spring, when she shared her health care story with her member of congress in a meeting with small business owners. After years spent working in corporate America, Michele wanted to make a more direct impact on the lives of her employees and community, and opened her small business. It’s clear seeing all the wet noses and wagging tails of her happy customers, that her work makes a difference in her local community. We talked to Michelle about Tiki Tails, and what it’s like to run a small business.Read more
Auburn small business owner and Main Street Alliance member, Jason Miller, believes health care is “a basic human right.” He stood up for this value yesterday, at a joint press event between Main Street Alliance of Washington and partner organization WashingtonCAN.
Kristy Cheung, a recent Communications graduate of the University of Washington, completed her summer internship with the Main Street Alliance of Washington. The following is her reflection on her experience working with small business owners on the issues of health care and immigration.Read more
Main Street Alliance Small Business Owner Matt McColm Speaks at Empty-Chair Town Hall with Rep. Pramila Jayapal
Matt McColm, Main Street Alliance member and owner of Suzie Health Solutions in Wenatchee, spoke out at an empty chair town hall in Washington’s 8th congressional district this past Saturday. Sharing his perspective as an insurance producer and as someone with a pre-existing condition, Matt talked about the importance of protecting the Affordable Care Act, and solutions for better health care.Read more
The latest iteration of the Republican’s Senate bill for repealing and replacing the ACA includes a proposal designed to attract the support of more Republican Senators who have stood in opposition to the first version. The Cruz-Lee amendment would allow insurers to sell off cheap insurance plans that fall short of providing the essential benefits required by the ACA, just as long as the insurance companies offer at least one plan that meets the ACA requirements.Read more
The Main Street Alliance is celebrating a significant victory for small business and working families in Washington state. After deep bipartisan negotiations, Paid Family and Medical Leave was signed into law last week in Olympia, making Washington the fifth state in the nation to provide this benefits to all workers!Read more
Washington Small Business Owners Call for Increased Public Investment Through Progressive Tax Structure
This week, Main Street Alliance small business owners spoke out in support of the proposed Seattle income tax.Read more
Here are some media stories from the hearings:
Senate Commerce & Labor Committee held on Monday March 30th 2015, 1:30PM Public: HB 1355, HB 1356, ESHB 1646; Executive: 1211, 1443, 1763; Work Session: Minimum wage.
Molly Moon: Please click here to watch video or paste this url into your browser address bar: http://tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2015030234#start=1970&stop=2070
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We come together in the halls of power and across the media as small business owners because we need to grab our good name back from corporations and lobbyists. On issue after issue, we stand for an alternative economic point of view: it’s about community, customer demand, social justice and sustainable business models. While we come together to advocate we are also exploring ways to provide concrete, hands-on assistance to our members.
Our Washington state affiliate has launched a collaboration with the Oakland-based Beneficial State Foundation to tackle the small business issue #1: access to credit.
Over sixty Spokane mom-n-pops and their community allies and customers came out to connect and share ideas about alternatives to big banks and Wall Street who extract wealth from our communities and rig the marketplace against small businesses. Owners of retail stores, restaurants, small manufacturers, dry cleaners, mechanics, IT and health professionals, consultants, artists and everyone in between joined in to brainstorm ways to bring together values-driven lending institutions and good providers of financial know-how assistance and Main Street Alliance members.
Kat Taylor, CEO and Founder of Oakland-based Beneficial State Bank and Foundation, as well as the Bank and Foundation officers, visited Spokane for the occasion and got to hear a range of entrepreneurial experiences with financial institutions. The picture, as you may suspect, is not that pretty, especially for women owners, people of color, immigrants and first-generation entrepreneurs. When it comes to being treated well by the banking industry, every small business has a horror story.
Our goal is to produce a valuable and vetted portal of values-driven lenders and service providers across Washington and beyond and to work actively on connecting them with small businesses. When we strengthen the business operations of our own members, we also strengthen our local economies and our ability to have impact on local and statewide policy debates.
We envision a banking industry that is fair to the person with the least bargaining power, provides access to financial services for all our communities, particularly the under-served. We envision lending institutions that promote the stability of the financial system and contribute to the sustainability of our environmental commons.
In other words, we believe that money should serve people, not the other way around. We call our new project Building Main Street. Let’s build strong local economies, improve quality of life for each of us, and make widespread gains in social equity and environmental renewal. Main Street, not Wall Street.
Here is a little glimpse from Spokane. Stay in touch with our Washington affiliate and let them know what you think.
***To schedule media interviews with Makini Howell, contact Joshua Welter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.