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It’s time to bring home the bacon

Volunteers across the country are coming together in their communities to fight for a higher minimum wage. So often, we've heard people claim that raising the minimum wage would hurt small businesses, hike prices, and cost jobs. But the facts don't support that, so we decided to take this opportunity to showcase some of our cherished local business that are already doing right by their employees by paying a fair wage.

The average worker earning the federal minimum wage only makes $14,500 a year, below the poverty threshold for a family of four. That means a minimum-wage worker cannot feed and shelter their family without government assistance. That's not right.

Here in Kansas City we’re proud that so many of our local businesses choose to compensate their employees fairly. They know how important it is that their workers are able to “bring home the bacon.” We thought it was high time somebody thanked them for doing the right thing. What better way for the land of barbecue and bacon to spotlight the issue and show our appreciation for business owners who fairly compensate their employees, than with awards made from actual bacon?

And so, we held The Bacon Awards in the Brookside neighborhood, Kansas City’s own little Main Street America at the heart of a proud middle-class community. Not only does Brookside represent a thriving local economy, it's also home to a plethora of small businesses that strive to offer their employees fair wages. We focused on Jeremy Neff, co-owner of a charming neighborhood coffee shop called One More Cup, and Pam Hausner, CEO of Big Vision Media Group, a local marketing business, to be the recipients of the prized Bacon Award.

The prize? A delicious edible bouquet complete with juicy bacon rose buds, and our gratitude.

Jeremy Neff and Pam Hausner

In his impromptu acceptance speech, Neff said that raising the minimum wage “builds up everyone. It builds up the local economy, the state economy, the national economy.” And he’s right. Raising the minimum wage would lift nearly a million people out of poverty.

“It's too easy to get lost in the arguments and forget that what we're ultimately talking about is people's lives,” said Hausner, holding her bacon bouquet. “If you don't want to raise minimum wage, then lower the cost of gas, lower the cost of car repair, food, and housing. Minimum wage is about the numbers and the people affected by those numbers.”

Hausner knows paying her employees a salary higher than minimum wage is as important to her business and her customers as it is to her employees. “I know that in order to provide quality services for my clients, my team members shouldn’t be preoccupied with whether they’re going to make rent or whether they can afford to buy the food or clothes they need. I want them fully focused on serving my clients.”

What business owner can disagree with that logic?

The event was a tasty success. Not wanting to leave anybody out of the fun, we provided our event attendees and passersby the opportunity to bring home some bacon. Everybody received their own portion of meat candy, and each bag contained facts about the effects of raising the minimum wage to drive home the message.

The Bacon Awards

We've seen undeniable progress as states across the country take action to raise the minimum wage, too. It’s admirable that so many businesses and lawmakers are taking it upon themselves to do right by American workers, but that’s not enough to ensure an honest day’s work earns every hard-working American a fair wage.

Unfortunately not all lawmakers are on board with the 70 percent of Americans who support raising the minimum wage. A minority of senators recently stood in the way of a plan to raise the wage.

Sign OFA's petition to tell lawmakers to help American workers bring home the bacon.

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