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Michigan Minimum Wage Update

May 28, 2014

This morning, Randy Block, director of the Michigan UU Social Justice Network (MUUSJN), is turning in over 320,000 Raise Michigan signatures in support of a ballot initiative to raise the state minimum wage. The ballot initiative would give people the chance to vote for one fair wage of $10.10, with no separate tipped minimum wage. Here is a quick report from Block yesterday:

Good news: The Raise Michigan campaign has raised more than enough signatures to put a raise of $10.10 per hour on the ballot this fall. These signatures will be submitted to a Secretary of State office in Lansing on May 28. MUUSJN volunteers have collected 5,822 signatures, exceeding our goal of 4,000 signatures by 46 percent! Thank you to our volunteers for their great work!

Bad news: The Michigan House and Senate moved today at lightning speed to pass a minimum wage bill that seeks to block the Raise Michigan campaign by repealing Michigan’s current minimum wage law that the campaign is seeking to amend. Michigan citizens have a constitutional right to petition their government for change, but the new minimum wage bill sets a dangerous precedent of undermining citizens of their right to vote on a ballot initiative. The Governor is expected to sign this bill tonight.  

The problematic bill proposes the following:

  1. Gradually raises the minimum wage to $9.25 per hour — a nickel higher per hour than the original Senate bill, but a wage that still keeps a family of three under the poverty level
  2. Increases tipped wages at a rate of 38 percent of the minimum wage — about 13 cents per hour less than in the original Senate bill 
  3. Indexes the minimum wage for inflation

We are determining our next steps, including a potential challenge in court.

You can read more about the ballot campaign coalition — and why we believe that wages need to be raised to $10.10 — in the Flint Journal: “Raise Michigan Coalition rallies in Flint for proposal to raise minimum wage.”

Keep up the good work, Michigan!

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