LANSING, Mich. — The Raise the Wage Michigan Ballot Committee announced the official filing of a new ballot measure on Tuesday to increase the state's minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2027.
“This proposal will raise the minimum wage in Michigan to 15 dollars an hour in one dollar steps annually until 2027… after that the minimum wage would be automatically adjusted for inflation every year," said Mark Brewer an attorney for the Raise the Wage Michigan Ballot Committee.
An effort to increase the state's minimum wage to $12 per hour in 2022 that started back in 2018 was stymied by the legislature even after gathering enough signatures. The bill was changed so that the minimum wage would increase to $12 per hour but not until 2030.
“The reality is we're just trying to fight for what workers have deserved all along. If the minimum wage had increased at the rate of productivity since 1960, it would be 24 dollars today. So we're just trying to fight to get back what we've lost over the last 60 years," said Joe Sanberg the co-founder of Aspiration Inc.
According to One Fair Wage, the low pay is part of the reason workers are leaving the restaurant industry.
“To date we have counted one million restaurant workers have left the industry, one million," said Saru Jayaraman the president of One Fair Wage. "And of those who remain– we’ve surveyed thousands in Michigan 54% say they’re leaving and 78%, nearly 8 in 10 say that the only thing that would make them come back and stay working in restaurants is a full livable wage with tips on top."
In addition to to a livable wage, workers and advocates are calling for an end to the sub-minimum wage for workers under the age of 18 and those with disabilities.
On the first of the year minimum wage workers will get a $.22 cent raise which will bring it still well below the livable wage to $9.87. One Fair Wage Michigan says they're planning to start gathering signatures in Jan. 2022.
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