Chipotle – Minimum Wage Reform (2017)
Outcome: Successfully withdrawn following commitment to issue statement on its position on public policy issues, including minimum wage policy.
RESOLVED: Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. shareholders urge the Board to adopt and publish principles for minimum wage reform.
This proposal does not encompass payments used for lobbying or ask the company to take a position on any particular piece of legislation. Nor does this proposal seek to address the company’s internal approach to compensation, general employee compensation matters, or implementation of its principles for minimum wage reform. The appropriate timing for publishing the principles should be in the Board’s discretion.
We believe that principles for minimum wage reform should recognize that:
1. A sustainable economy must ensure a minimum standard of living necessary for the health and general well-being of workers and their families; and
2. The minimum wage should be indexed to maintain its ability to support a minimum standard of living; and to allow for orderly increases, predictability and business planning.
Until the early 1980s, an annual minimum-wage income – after inflation adjustment – was above the poverty line for a family of two. Today, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, yields an annual income of $15,080, well below the federal poverty line for families.
Poverty-level wages and income inequality may undermine consumer spending and economic grown. A widely reported 2014 S&P research brief stated “increasing income inequality is dampening U.S. economic growth.” Peter Georgescu, of Young & Rubicam, wrote in an op-ed Capitalists, Arise: We Need to Deal With Income Inequality “Business has the most to gain from a healthy America, and the most to lose by social unrest”. An MSCI report “The rise of populism: Impact on portfolio returns and allocations”, found stagnant wages can be a key driver of populist movements which can lead to stagflation and material loses for broadly diversified portfolios.
Fortunately, there are many examples of corporate leaders supporting strong wages and indexing:
• Costco CEO Jelinek, Morgan Stanley CEO Gorman, McDonald’s CEO Thompson, and Panera CEO Shaich have indicated support for a federal minimum wage increase.
• Subway CEO DeLuca supports minimum wage increase and indexing because it allows for business planning.
• In 2016, The Trump Organization’s Chairman, Donald Trump called for a minimum wage increase.
• JPMorgan’s Dimon said in a 2016 New York Times op-ed, “Wages for many Americans have gone nowhere for too long.”
Polling demonstrates minimum wage reform is one of the nation’s most significant social policy issues. For example, an August 2016 Pew Research Poll shows that 58% of Americans favor a $15 federal minimum wage.
According to more than 600 leading economists, including seven Nobel Prize winners, the U.S. should raise the minimum wage and index it. Studies indicate that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum wage workers. Some research suggests a minimum wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy.