It probably shocked some people, but there was the Speaker of the House clapping during Tuesday’s State of the Union Address when the president gave a shout-out to a business that’s raised its minimum wage.
“Nick Chute is here today, with his boss, John Soranno. John is the owner of Punch Pizza. John just gave his employees a raise to 10 bucks an hour, and that’s a decision that has eased their financial stress and boosted their morale,” President Obama said during the State of the Union.
But it turns out there was more than morale involved.
Punch Pizza is a chain of eight shops in Minnesota that serves wood-fired Neapolitan pizza. Its co-owners told Correspondent Nancy Cordes they were having trouble expanding.
“We were finding as we grew, that we didn’t have enough new people that wanted to come join us,” said Soranno. But after Punch announced the $10 an hour starting wage, the applications grew.
The cost – $3 million over ten years – works out to about $100 more per day at each store.
It’s fair to point out they did this not because President Obama wanted them to, but because the market forced them to – the old wage wasn’t attracting enough applicants. Which tells me that another way to get the minimum wage up without getting the government involved would be for millions of workers to organize themselves and just agree not to work for less than $10 an hour.
Which might explain why a minimum wage has a chance of passing. For some members of Congress, the only thing worse than a higher minimum wage would be a return of unions.