Expanded “Faces of $15” Website Profiles The Victims Of A $15 Minimum Wage

Site features over 100 stories of minimum wage victims, eight video documentaries
  • Publication Date: May 2017

  • Topics: Minimum Wage


Washington D.C. – Today, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) relaunched its Faces of $15 website, which documents the real victims of dramatic minimum wage increases. The new site features over 100 stories of affected businesses, which can be sorted by location and consequence type (business closure, job loss, etc). The site also features video documentaries and an interactive map of affected businesses. Business owners are encouraged to write in and tell their own story.

The relaunched site, which coincides with “Fight for $15” protests today in Oak Brook, IL, can be viewed here: www.FacesOf15.com

EPI launched its Faces of $15 project in 2015, a first-of-its-kind effort to collect real stories on the damage from an extreme minimum wage hike. Stories of affected businesses profiled on the website include:


  • Kelley Ulmer, the owner of Almost Perfect Books in Roseville CA, who was forced to close her store in July 2016 due to “the ever increasing minimum wage.”
  • Houman Salem of ArgyleHAUS of Apparel in San Fernando, CA, who is expanding in Nevada rather than California because of the state’s minimum wage. You can read his op-ed in the LA Times here.
  • Nat Cutler, co-owner the Abbot’s Cellar in San Francisco, who was forced to close his doors in January 2015 due the city’s rising minimum wage, as well as other high business costs in the city.
  • Larry Georgeton, co-owner of the Del Rio Diner in Brooklyn, NY, who closed in July 2016 because of New York’s rising minimum wage. He talked more about his employees, stating, “when I told them we were closing the store a lot of tears were shed.”
  • Jim McCanney, who was forced to move his call center business across the border to Pennsylvania after New York raised its minimum wage.
 A 2015 University of New Hampshire survey found that nearly three-quarters of surveyed US labor economists are opposed to a broad $15 minimum wage. Even left-of-center economists from the Obama and Clinton administrations have advised against such a wage hike. And a recent study of San Francisco restaurants, conducted with user review data from YELP, found an increase in closures for median-rated restaurants following an increase in the city’s minimum wage.

“The real Faces of $15 are the business owners who’ve been forced to close their doors, and the employees who’ve lost their jobs,” said Michael Saltsman, managing director at EPI, “Policymakers shouldn’t be fooled by labor’s rose-colored rhetoric on a new wage mandate.”

For more information, visit EPIOnline.org. To schedule an interview, contact Sean Kumnick at  (202) 463-7650 or kumnick@epionline.org.
The Employment Policies Institute is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth. In particular, EPI focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment. EPI receives support from restaurants, foundations, and individuals.