It was not immediately clear how many of Lee’s employees would be impacted by the publicly advertised pay increase and Lee did not respond to inquiries.
Lee did not disclose the reason for making internal wage decisions public.
“We believe it is important for successful Maine businesses to pay enough so that the lowest-paid employees are still earning a living wage,” he said in the statement.
Lee has previously testified in favor of tax increases at the State House and has demonstrated a left-of-center ideological alignment.
The move may be an attempt to show his support for various proposals to increase the minimum wage.
Ironically, Lee’s decision to voluntarily increase wages stands in stark contrast to minimum wage hike proposals, which use the government’s coercive power to artificially set the price of labor for all businesses.
Here’s the press release:
Statement From Adam Lee on Living Wage at Lee Auto Malls
May 19, 2014
I am pleased to announce that Lee Auto Malls is raising the minimum pay for any full time employee to $10 per hour, effective immediately.
As a profitable local company, my partners and I felt was this was the responsible thing to do. We believe it is important for successful Maine businesses to pay enough so that the lowest-paid employees are still earning a living wage.
Our company was started in Lewiston, Maine in 1936. For 78 years, through the hard work of our employees, we have prospered and grown. We now employ over 450 people in 15 Maine cities and towns, and they contribute each day to our company’s success.
The automotive industry has always been at the forefront of providing Americans with good-paying jobs. While Henry Ford was not necessarily community minded, he did raise his employees pay from $2.50 per day to $5.00 per day. His logic was that his employees needed to be able to purchase the new cars they were producing. We believe our decision today will make our hardworking employees lives a little easier and make Lee Auto Malls an even better place to work, which will allow our company to continue to prosper.