ABA Launches Minimum Wage Legislative Tool Kit

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The issue of minimum wage continues to grow as a high-profile public policy debate. To assist booksellers in advocating for minimum wage policies that take into account the economic realities of independent retailing, on Thursday, May 7, the American Booksellers Association created the Minimum Wage Legislative Tool Kit.

“Independent booksellers want their employees to earn a fair and equitable wage,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “However, a wage increase that is too drastic could result in reduced staff hours, lost jobs, or, worse, a store going out of business.  That’s why it’s vitally important that independent bookstores and other locally owned businesses become involved at the earliest stages of discussions regarding possible changes in the minimum wage, to ensure that decision-makers fully understand the economics of retail. A poorly thought out wage increase could be a disaster for Main Street.”

The minimum wage was a key topic at the Winter Institute’s Town Hall meeting in February and the issue was raised at many of the forums held by ABA around the country this spring. The tool kit was created, in part, in response to booksellers’ concerns over how best to handle minimum wage increases.

The Minimum Wage Legislative Tool Kit, Teicher continued, provides a number of items to help booksellers work with lawmakers, town officials, and the media to develop good minimum wage policy. Included in the kit is an interactive spreadsheet, the “Minimum Wage Impact Calculator,” a powerful visual tool that booksellers can use when meeting with key decision-makers. Using ABACUS data, the spreadsheet immediately demonstrates to officials the economic effects a given wage increase would have on an average small store’s bottom line.

Other tools provided in the kit include:

  • The Indie Fact Sheet, a handy leave-behind that will provide a lawmaker or key decision-maker on the minimum wage discussion with basic, but important, facts about how an indie operates.
  • Tips on an Effective Meeting With Your Elected Officials, a one-pager that provides tips and suggestions on how to make the most of these important meetings with lawmakers.

The page also provides some tips and suggestions for navigating what can be a nuanced and oftentimes emotional and heated policy campaign.

In any wage increase discussion, the goal for booksellers is to ensure that when the policy discussion begins it is based in solid business and economic principles. “It’s not surprising that an elected official who has never run a business might not understand the economics of independent retailing,” Teicher noted. “Successful advocacy on this issue will require booksellers to help educate key decision-makers on the financial realities of an independent business.”

Booksellers with questions about the Minimum Wage Legislative Tool Kit or any of the tools on the page should contact ABA Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan.

Also, booksellers attending BookExpo America who would like to further discuss minimum wage or other public policy issues are encouraged to schedule a time to meet with Grogan in person.