We at Contemporaries are proud to announce that we have officially passed the 1-Year Anniversary of our commitment to paying employees a $15 minimum hourly wage!

What follows is the national and local press release from one year ago commemorating this momentous and truly revolutionary stride toward a “living” wage in the city of Boston. To date, Contemporaries is still the only agency in Boston to offer $15 per hour.

Boston Agency, Contemporaries, Inc., First to OK $15 Hour Minimum Wage Hike

Debate on whether to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour may be continuing among local business owners and lawmakers on Beacon Hill, but one Boston staffing agency owner is hoping her own actions will tilt the odds in favor of the change.

Donna Fitzgerald is the owner and CEO of Contemporaries, Inc., a Boston-based employment firm specializing in administrative, finance, and IT staff. Fitzgerald implemented the new $15 minimum hourly wage hike in April for mainly her clerical/administrative workers, as most of the other positions the company fills, such as IT and finance, already include a higher hourly wage rate. She is hoping her actions will inspire other business owners to follow suit.

Fitzgerald is also the Founder of the recently formed grass roots, non-profit organization, “Heart Tank”, which provides resources, support, and “seed money” to potential local entrepreneurs looking to launch their first business endeavor in Boston.

Heart Tank, according to Fitzgerald, expects to hold its first major event this Fall in Roxbury.

The organization, as well as the minimum wage hike, are both part of Fitzgerald’s plan of giving back to the community by assisting both resident employees as well as potential new Boston business owners.

“We work with such a talented pool of Boston residents and I wanted to take into consideration the growing expenses of living in a major city, like Boston,” Fitzgerald said, adding that the decision was also an effort “to raise our voice to the growing sense of inequality and to ensure that our employees receive a fair and decent wage.”

“I know California and New York have already moved toward enacting minimum wage increases, and I wanted to be a leader in Boston and take the initiative towards moving the city in the same direction,” Fitzgerald added.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, in April, also came out in support of the minimum wage increase, in addition to assembling a task force comprised of employers and employees charged with studying the issue.

Fitzgerald, a Boston native, grew up in a working class family where a strong work ethic was a valued trait. She said she was also very fortunate because, unlike many others today, she had the opportunity of attending college and graduating without accruing any debt.

Fitzgerald has also witnessed many changes to the city over the years, and said that numerous business owners have all benefited from those changes, in part, because of the contributions their employees make on a daily basis.

“Offering the $15 minimum hourly wage to our employees, many who start out as temps, but go permanent in a short period of time, is well worth the end result,” Fitzgerald said, noting that it was a good investment in her employees, who in turn, were even more invested in their jobs and assignments. The benefits, she added, far outweighed the reduction in profits.

“A number of candidates we see today are college graduates that are swimming in student loan debt. While these candidates may spend a relatively short period of their lives with Contemporaries working as temps, we want to be able to get them off to a better start, particularly in terms of wages and pay,” Fitzgerald explained.

Since opening Contemporaries in 1998, Fitzgerald has employed thousands of employees, many in temporary and temp-to-perm positions. She admits that she has always been much more progressive than a lot of her colleagues and she has modeled her agency with the same type of modern policies and actions.

While she serves as CEO to a staff of over 50 employees, Fitzgerald previously served on the other side of the aisle, working in labor management for the city of Boston.

“Not only is raising wages to a minimum of $15 an hour the right thing to do, but it also helps us to attract and retain excellent employees,” Fitzgerald said. “These employees, in turn, are very invested in their own positions and they do an outstanding job because they know they are valued members of a real team,” Fitzgerald concluded.

Today’s message for a “living” minimum wage is brought to you by Contemporaries.

Photo: retrieved from Stock-Free, available under the public domain.

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