minimum wage

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This week in Michigan Politics, political analyst Jack Lessenberry talks about a new law affecting Michigan workers, a plan to fix the roads that increases the gas tax, the high cost of information, and government officials looking at the effects of the same sex marriage ruling.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Photo courtesy of Governor Snyder's office

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a bill that stops local governments from adopting their own ordinances that cover wages and working conditions.

The new law does not affect existing ordinances, but it does preempt nascent efforts to adopt local “living wage” and mandatory sick leave ordinances. In a written statement, Governor Snyder says it makes sense to ensure consistency in local ordinances that regulate jobs and employment.

Senate bill would lower minimum wage for young adults

Jun 18, 2015
Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A bill is being considered by the Michigan Senate that would lower the minimum wage for young adults.

Senate Bill 250 would allow people under 20 to be paid 85% of the state minimum wage or the federal minimum wage, whichever is higher.

Current laws allow employers to pay workers under 18 a lower minimum wage.

Thetoad / Flickr

State lawmakers have sent Gov. Rick Snyder a bill that would ban local minimum wage and benefit laws. The bill does not apply to ordinances adopted before this year.

Republican supporters of the legislation say having a patchwork of different wage laws across the state makes Michigan less attractive to businesses.

Democrats and some Republicans have criticized the bill. They say it's an attack on local control.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr

Local minimum wage and benefit ordinances in place before this year would no longer be preempted by a controversial bill in the state Legislature.

The state House changed House Bill 4052 so that it would only apply to local ordinances adopted after January 1, 2015. It would still stop communities from passing new laws setting local minimum wages and benefits.

Apartment building in Detroit
Joseph Wingenfeld / Flickr

To afford an average two-bedroom apartment in Michigan, you would need to make $15.16 an hour, according to a recent study done by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. 

The hourly housing wage was derived under a few assumptions, the most significant being that the cost of rent and utilities shouldn't exceed 30% of a person's total income. 

Daniel Lobo / Creative Commons

Nearly 100 workers at seven Michigan hotels will share $50,000 in back pay. The consent judgment was announced today.

Housekeepers and maintenance workers at the hotels in Grand Rapids and Monroe were paid less than minimum wage in some cases, didn’t get overtime pay, or were not paid fully for work they did before and after their shifts ended.

Study: Michigan minority families falling behind

Mar 18, 2015
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new study shows minority working families in Michigan are twice as likely to be low-income earners as white working families.

The report shows half of the state's working minority families fall below the official poverty rate, around $40,000 for a family of three, compared to 27% of working white families.

via gophouse.org

A new House bill would prevent local governments from setting their own minimum wage laws, putting other additional conditions on employers, or attaching community benefits agreements to development projects.

State Representative Earl Poleski, a Jackson Republican, is the bill’s sponsor. He says it aims to combat the “fragmentation” that results from letting municipalities set their own standards.  

“Those different rules make it complex—and when I say complex, read ‘expensive’—to comply, and frankly impairs businesses abilities to expand and hire people,” Poleski says.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Black Friday is attracting shoppers and protesters.

Picketers stood outside more than a dozen Michigan Wal-Mart stores this morning.

Marilyn Coulter is with the Coalition of Labor Union Women.    She says this is “RED Friday” for minimum wage workers in Michigan.

“Because they’re in the red because they’re working and they are not getting paid enough money to be able to live and feed their families,” says Coulter. 

Michigan had the lowest turnout in a Governor’s race this year since the John Engler-Geoffrey Fieger face-off of 1998. And, while a lot of Republicans sat out this year, it was mostly Democrats who stayed home in droves on Election Day.

So, despite the low turnout, conservatives can rejoice because Republicans will remain in control in Lansing for at least the next two years. But progressives can, perhaps, find some solace in the fact that getting initiatives and challenges on the ballot will be easier than it has been in 16 years.

(Shout-out to the Lansing political consulting firm Sterling Corporation and its attorney Bob LaBrandt for being the first to point this out.)

Proposals are by and large put on the ballot by petition drives. (The Legislature can also put questions on the ballot.)

The number of signatures required to get a petition on the ballot is based on the number of people who voted in the previous election for governor. So, fewer voters in 2014 means fewer signatures needed to get on the ballot in 2016.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

People swinging through fast-food drive-thrus on their way to work this morning in Lansing and Detroit had to pass by groups of picketers.

“What do we want … 15… When do we want it …NOW,” chanted a small group of protesters who walked and waved signs in front of the McDonald's on Martin Luther King Boulevard in south Lansing.  

The union-backed protest wants fast-food outlets to increase pay to $15 an hour.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Many Michiganders are working hard this Labor Day weekend and still not making ends meet.

According to a new report, 4 in 10 Michigan households meet the definition of “asset-limited, income constrained, employed” – or ALICE for short.

Scott Dzurka is the CEO of the Michigan Association of United Ways. He says these people are waitresses, home care workers and others who are the backbone of the Michigan economy. He says ALICE households fall short of having enough money to meet their basic survival needs. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - An increase in Michigan's minimum wage is set to launch, and with it comes a test of whether the gradual rise will help workers, harm businesses or neither.

The first bump comes Monday, when the wage moves up from $7.40 an hour to $8.15. The 25 percent overall raise comes in annual increments, capping at $9.25 in 2018.

It directly affects about 4 percent of the state's roughly 2.5 million hourly workers who earn the minimum wage or lower. It could help some who make more since employers likely will adjust their pay scales.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report shows it’s getting harder for people in Michigan at the lower end of the pay scale.

Yannet Lathrop is a policy analyst for the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Her study finds the bottom 20% of Michigan's male wage earners have seen their real income, adjusted for inflation, drop by nearly a third since 1979.

sushi ina / flickr

A state elections board has rejected a petition to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in a 3 to 1 vote.

The Board of State Canvassers says the campaign failed to collect enough valid signatures to move forward.

John Pirich is with the group opposing the minimum wage proposal. He praised the board for throwing out dozens of duplicate signatures.

“I’m 100% confident that what we’ve shown them in terms of duplication will be confirmed by any review of any of them.”

Groups that support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could challenge the decision in court. They say the elections board went out of its way to throw out petition signatures.

*This post has been updated.

user: Al / flickr

Governor Rick Snyder signed a new minimum wage law in May that would raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.40 to $9.25 an hour by 2018.

But the fight is not over.

Raise Michigan, a group of unions, nonprofits and liberal advocacy groups, wants to put forth a ballot initiative that will ask voters to amend the law and raise minimum wage eventually to $10.10 an hour.

Chris Gautz is the Capitol Correspondent for Crain’s Detroit Business. He joined Cynthia on Stateside today to talk about the group’s plans to meet at the Capitol this Thursday with the Board of State Canvassers.

Read his article in Crain’s Detroit Business here.

*Listen to the full interview with Chris Gautz above.

The group "Keep Michigan Wolves Protected" gathers signatures.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected / Facebook

A coalition of activist groups is trying to make an issue of the Legislature passing laws to bypass petition drives and ballot measures.

The groups say Republicans at the state Capitol have circumvented voters on questions including the emergency manager law, the minimum wage, and wolf hunting. In each of those cases, the Legislature passed laws that ran contrary to the results of an election or a petition drive.

Danielle Atkinson is with the campaign to increase the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. She says the Legislature acted legally, but violated the spirit of the Michigan Constitution’s power to use the ballot to initiate or challenge laws.

“This is not what the drafters of the state constitution intended when they gave people the right to petition their government.”

Perezhilton.com

Activists from the Raise Michigan coalition have turned in petition signatures to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017.

That’s despite a new minimum wage law signed by Governor Rick Snyder just one day earlier.

Andrew Stawarz / flickr

Denise Gleich is a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry in Michigan.

She's raised three daughters on the wages and tips she earned, but says the industry has changed and she wants out. 

Tipped workers will make 60% less than minimum wage under legislation Governor Snyder signed into law on Tuesday. 

The majority of tipped workers are women.

I took the State of Opportunity story booth to a recent gathering of women talking about economic security.

Gleich was the first woman to walk into that room.

Read and listen to her story here.

My guess is that Dave Woodward and his fellow Democrats are a mix of frustrated, defiant, and happy today, in about that order.

Here’s why.

We’re talking about the minimum-wage deal, in which both houses of the Legislature and the governor yesterday enacted and signed a minimum-wage bill with what, in political terms, was the speed of light.

Yes, the same gang that hasn’t been able to get any new road funding in three years passed a minimum-wage bill in less than a day.

Woodward, a former chair of the Oakland County Democrats, has spent the last few months knocking himself out as head of Raise Michigan, the group collecting signatures to get a minimum-wage hike on the ballot.

Flickr user borman818

In this Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the passage of a new minimum-wage bill and the Mackinac Policy Conference.

Legislature approves $8.15 Michigan minimum wage

May 27, 2014
Perezhilton.com

Michigan workers making the minimum wage will get a raise in September.

Gov. Rick Snyder quickly signed the legislation tonight, before organizers of a petition campaign to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour submit signatures Wednesday.

The new law boosts the state’s minimum wage to $8.15 an hour this year. It will gradually increase the minimum wage to $9.25 an hour by 2018. After that, it will rise with inflation.

Thetoad / Flickr

We know that last week the state Senate gave speedy approval to a minimum wage measure.

Now the House is giving a fast-track to its own version, and both are designed to kill off a citizen petition drive to put the question of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour on the November ballot.

Why is the House acting on this issue so quickly?

And what do Michigan voters think about raising the minimum wage?

Kathleen Gray, a political reporter for the Detroit Free Press, joined us from the State Capitol.

*Listen to the story above.

en.wikipedia

A bill to boost Michigan’s minimum wage would not be tied to inflation if a state House committee chair gets his way.

The legislation would gradually boost the wage from $7.40 to $9.20 an hour over three years. After 2017, it would index the minimum wage to inflation.

That last provision is something House Government Operations Committee Chair Pete Lund doesn’t want.

“I’ve never been a fan of that,” said Lund, R-Shelby Township. “And I don’t think that’s good economics. I don’t think that’s good for job creation in the long run.”

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the latest in the Detroit bankruptcy including:

  • An expected vote today in the state legislature on the $195 million bailout for Detroit
  • New York’s Lieutenant Governor, Richard Ravitch said yesterday in his testimony on Detroit’s bankruptcy that the “whole country is watching.”
  • The Koch brothers are buying attack ads targeting lawmakers who plan to help Detroit through bankruptcy
  • JP Morgan Chase is expected to announce it’s investing $100 million in Detroit.

Lessenberry also gave an update on the minimum wage debate in the state legislature.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The debate over raising Michigan’s minimum wage moves to the state House Wednesday.

A legislative panel will hear testimony on a bill that cleared the state Senate last week. Senate Bill 934 would gradually increase the wage from $7.40 an hour to $9.20 an hour. After 2017, the minimum wage would rise with inflation.  

State Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, chairs the panel. He says he’s open to the plan – but he has some concerns.

Here’s a three-part prediction for you:  First, the minimum wage bill passed by the Michigan Senate will never become law – not in anything like the way it looks now.

Second, there will be a minimum wage proposal on the ballot, though no one can say if it will pass and what happens if it does.

And finally, what looked like a triumph for the Republicans a few days ago could well backfire – and end up driving angry Democratic voters to the polls.

Here’s what’s going on. As you probably know, a group called Raise Michigan has been collecting signatures to put a proposal on the ballot that would gradually raise the minimum wage from the current $7.40 an hour to $10.10.

So far as I can tell, it looks like they will have more than enough. Business interests don’t like this, of course; they never like being told they have to pay their workers more money. And what they really don’t like is that this bill would also gradually make the minimum wage for tipped workers, like restaurant servers, equal with everyone else.

Today marks the 1,000th day that Amir Hekmati has been in an Iranian prison. U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, joined us to discuss what is being done to free the Michigan Marine. 

And it's morel hunting season in Michigan. A top morel hunter and chef joined us on the program today.

Next, the BBC's Justin Webb went for a test drive in one of Google's driverless cars. 

Then, the Republican's minimum-wage bill cleared the state Senate last week, and could demolish Raise Michigan's petition drive that would set minimum wage even higher. 

Light Brigade / Flickr

A bill to raise Michigan's minimum wage from $7.40 to $9.20 an hour by 2017 is now on its way to the state House. The bill would increase the minimum wage for tipped workers from $2.65 to $3.50 an hour. 

The bill cleared the Senate late last week by a vote of 24-14. It's an attempt by the Republicans to kill a petition drive that would raise the minimum wage even higher, to $10.10 an hour, even for tipped workers. 

That petition drive is being led by the group Raise Michigan. Danielle Atkinson joined us. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

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