An Oklahoma Standard

It seems that with each passing day we hear news reports of companies cutting jobs, closing branches or plants, or slashing wages of the workers in order to prevent having to lay anyone off. Maybe that is why the recent news out of Oklahoma City drew national attention. Hobby Lobby is opening new stores in the middle of this downturn. Maybe that says something about people buying more crafts supplies in a recession, but it likely says something much more about the strength of the company. What was the real newsmaker though was the fact that they have raised their minimum wage for all workers to $10.00 an hour. Maybe this says something about David Green’s business savvy, but it says much more about the strength of his character.

I applaud the move to make the financial situations of his employees a little more manageable. The federal minimum wage is $6.65 an hour, which is $266 a week if you work full time. That is before taxes or any withholdings. The move to $10 means $400 a week, a 50 percent increase. It still represents only $20,800 a year before taxes…if you work 52 weeks a year with no time off. Making ends meet is getting harder and harder for families. However, many companies are cutting workers’ salaries or hours or even their jobs while rewarding executives. It is refreshing to see Hobby Lobby making their priorities and their ethics known. Maybe that example will inspire others. In the long run, they will probably benefit financially from treating their people well. They can have better retention and recruitment efforts, to say nothing about the good press. However, here in Oklahoma we know it is about more than that. We know that it is about treating people with respect and dignity…the way you would have them do onto you.


Oklahoma Policy Insititute (OK Policy) advances equitable and fiscally responsible policies that expand opportunity for all Oklahomans through non-partisan research, analysis, and advocacy.

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