Wayne Friday’s not the only one marking a change (note: Eileen Hansen used Hermanson’s as her campaign office in 2002):

On March 17th, I will celebrate the anniversary of my first day in business. 25 YEARS!!! It will also be my last day of business. 25 years ago, I started Hermanson’s Employment Services with the goal of providing better wages to temporary workers without charging more to clients. For a time, it accomplished that goal. The business quickly grew and flourished. Today, it is more about providing a low cost markup for corporate clients. As the focus of the business changed, so did mine. I’ve been going through old papers – getting rid of stuff – and came across an old resolution where I committed myself to becoming more politically active. Over the last several years, the living wage movement and the minimum wage campaign – among others, have consumed my time. With the success of those two campaigns – made possible by strong coalitions working together – more than 74,000 low wage workers have seen their pay go up. 20,000 of those people also received health care insurance – far more than I could have ever accomplished with my business.

Deciding to close has been a very difficult decision for me. The fact that the business has not been profitable for some time makes the decision a bit easier. Still, after doing something for 25 years, it is hard to leave it behind. The staff here in the office are like family to me. Karen, Paul, Sammy – we have worked together for a long time. They assure me that they will be O.K. Their excellent work over the years has enabled me to spend an increasing amount of time doing community work. Together, we have served the community.

What will I do now? I resolve to become more politically active. $6.75 is not enough for California’s minimum wage workers. We WILL have a ballot initiative by November 2006 to raise the state minimum wage. I am seriously considering a run for public office again. I also want to do work on universal health care, the environment, solar power and continuing to build the Green Party.

I’m going to have a big party on Thursday, March 17th to celebrate being in business 25 years. You are invited – 742 14th Street (near Church and Market Streets) – 4 p.m. until late. I am making a couple of batches of home brew beer for the occasion – Beyond The Political Pale Ale and Closing the Business Liberty Ale. (If you don’t drink beer, bring a bottle of your favorite beverage to share.) As a special treat, our neighbors, the artists at the Art Production Center, will be filling our walls with original artwork for your viewing pleasure.

Let me know if you are going to attend. I hope to see you.

Barry Hermanson

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