February 10, 2014

Boston Globe: Sen. Warren pushes minimum wage hike in Boston burrito visit

By Joshua Miller

February 10, 2014

With the hum of burrito preparation in the background, Senator Elizabeth Warren, joined by the US Senate's number two Democrat, today pushed for a hike in the minimum wage, emphasizing the effort was supported by businesses, not just workers.

At a Boloco location on Congress Street near South Station, Warren and Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois held a discussion with a cross section of business leaders and low-wage earners.

"Nobody who works full-time should live in poverty," Warren said.

John Pepper, Boloco's co-founder and former CEO, said paying employees more than the minimum wage was "a no-brainer." He said the hourly wage floor for workers in the company is $9 per hour, one dollar more than Massachusetts' minimum wage. And he said he is a strong advocate of government increasing the level.

Warren lauded Pepper saying he built his business with workers who got paid a living wage.

"He was going to be there for his workers and he knew that if he did that his workers would be there for him - and they would be there for the burritos," she said.

Boloco, a privately held company founded in 1997, has 22 locations, 16 of which are in Massachusetts.

The push to boost the minimum wage from its current federal level of $7.25 per hour has grown in intensity as the strain of economic populism, notably promulgated by Warren during her 2012 campaign, has become ascendant in the Democratic party.

President Obama, in his Jan. 28 State of the Union, called for Congress to pass legislation boosting the federal wage floor to $10.10 per hour. "Give America a raise," he said.

Warren she supported the $10.10 per hour effort, an increase which would be phased in.

Read the full story here.