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Private business owner: Big businesses are ‘taking advantage’ of employees

A bill would raise Washington's state minimum wage to $12 an hour with a series of annual 50-cent increases. (AP)

Washington state needs a higher minimum wage to protect employees from large businesses paying low wages, one private business owner says.

Tiffany Turner, co-owner of Adrift Hotel and Spa and Pickled Fish in Long Beach, Washington drove to Olympia to support a bill that’s being discussed Monday by a committee in the Republican-controlled chamber.

Corporate lobbyists say small businesses aren’t going to thrive if the state raises the minimum wage, Turner said. She contests that.

“The reason we need a minimum wage is because there are large businesses that take advantage of minimum wage and don’t pay their workers well and don’t grow their wages for their workers,” she said.

The bill would raise Washington’s state minimum wage to $12 an hour with a series of annual 50-cent increases.
Washington’s hourly minimum wage is now $9.47. Under the state’s current law, the minimum wage goes up every January with inflation. The Employment Security Department said this year’s minimum wage hike affected more than 67,000 workers.

Turner and her husband already pay their workers – except servers – more than minimum wage. Their average hourly pay is $14 an hour, she said. Workers also receive 40 hours paid sick leave.

Paying higher wages creates a “better” work environment, Turner said.

“Investing in our employees is investing in our business.”

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