MI wage hike held up in controversial 'adopt and amend' legislation
Thursday, November 9, 2023
Michigan groups advocating for a minimum wage hike and paid leave say they'll finally see their day in court next month.
Petitioners are expected in State Supreme court following the Michigan Legislature's 2018 adoption of a citizen-initiated petition mandating paid sick time.
An "adopt and amend" approach taken by the Legislature altered provisions in the original law.
Chris White, director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers of Michigan, said the legislation is unconstitutional - but remains optimistic Michigan's high court will rule in favor of Michiganders who need the benefits most.
"We feel hopeful that the court will rule in favor of both 'adopt and amend' as well as the minimum wage question," said White. "The time that's lost, the wage will probably increase to about $13.65 an hour, but we have to be able to pay our workers more."
Other Michigan groups, like One Fair Wage, have proposed an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2027. The current minimum wage is $10.10 an hour, and is due to increase to $10.33 an hour under current law.
Crystal Coleman, a former restaurant worker and current food-service business owner, said she understands the need for higher wages - and acknowledged that some small businesses might face challenges with having to pay more.
But she said many employers have already raised wages to remain competitive and maintain quality.
"Raising my children in the city of Detroit, I've been evicted from rental properties twice," said Coleman. "Having to go to certain public agencies to get assistance when you're working. You should be able to earn enough money to take care of your basic needs."
Should the court rule in favor of petitioners, the minimum wage would jump to nearly $14 immediately.
Several states, including California, are also raising their minimum wages next year where fast food workers would earn at least $20 an hour.
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