minimum wage

Opinion
11:21 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Michigan's minimum-wage bill could render your vote null and void

There’s an old saying that conservative lawmakers are for local control, except when they’re not.

Meaning, whenever local units of government want to do something that they don’t like.

Now, we’ve learned that Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, believes in democracy, except when he doesn’t.

In the past, Richardville has staunchly supported Michigan voters’ decisions to outlaw gay marriage and affirmative action.

But he doesn’t want to allow voters to vote to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

It now seems likely that supporters of the higher minimum will collect enough signatures to put a proposition doing so on the November ballot.

Now, it would be one thing to campaign against this amendment, and encourage people to vote it down.

That would be perfectly legitimate, regardless of whether you agree.

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It's Just Politics
1:50 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Latest GOP minimum wage salvo could spark restaurant war

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Republican state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, may have just turned up the heat in the fight over increasing Michigan’s minimum wage. But the petition campaign – headed by Raise Michigan – is already planning its pushback.

Richardville proposed yesterday his own legislation to raise the state minimum wage from $7.40 to $8.15, and a boost for tipped workers, too. But, really, this is not so much about raising the minimum wage as derailing the petition drive underway to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour plus a really big raise for tipped workers.

The Richardville proposal is separate from an earlier bill sponsored by Senator Rick Jones, R-Eaton Rapids, that would also raise the minimum wage. That one also meant to blunt the petition drive.

Both were introduced because it appears the petition drive is on track to turn in the necessary number of signatures before the deadline at the end of the month. Under the Michigan Constitution, once those signatures are certified, the state Legislature would have 40 days to vote it into law. If it doesn’t – the question goes on the November ballot.

And the polling shows, it’s pretty popular. Popular enough, Democrats hope, to boost turnout among their voters who tend to stay home in mid-term elections.

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Opinion
10:47 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Even if I leave my waitress a 30% tip, her wages are outrageously low

Last week at noon I snuck over to a little restaurant near Detroit’s Eastern Market that usually isn't very crowded.

The place isn’t fine dining, but it’s quiet, I like their food, and they left me alone for a romantic hour-long interval with coffee and a bunch of term papers on the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

My server is usually a woman I’ll call Stephanie, who is sweet, efficient and a trifle careworn. I think she is in her mid-40s, I know she has kids, and she has worked there for 18 years. 

My bill was about $9, and I left Stephanie$3, which sounds generous – after all, that’s more than the 15 to 20% they say you are supposed to tip. But afterwards I realized what I gave her was outrageously cheap.

I know the restaurant, and Stephanie is almost certainly being paid the minimum wage of $2.65 an hour. She had no more than three tables while I was there. 

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Politics & Government
5:59 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Stabenow: Republican opposition to minimum wage hike 'unacceptable'

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) says GOP opposition to the wage hike and to legislation to require equal pay for women is "unacceptable".
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow is criticizing her Republican Senate colleagues for blocking a vote on increasing the federal minimum wage.

The bill would have gradually increased the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10.

Democrats say it would have helped millions of low-income families.

Stabenow says GOP opposition to the wage hike and to legislation to require equal pay for women is "unacceptable".

“This is really the one-two punch that hurts women in Michigan,” says Stabenow. 

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Politics & Government
5:11 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Minimum wage and equal pay advocates join forces at state Capitol

Danielle Atkinson of the Raise Michigan Coalition, and founder of Mothering Justice, speaking with Democratic lawmakers Tuesday at an equal pay rally in the state Capitol.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

Women’s rights advocates say boosting the state’s minimum wage would be a big step toward equal pay in the workplace. Groups backing both causes joined forces Tuesday during an equal pay rally at the state Capitol.

“Women are disproportionately represented in low-wage work. So, when we raise the minimum wage we are raising them a little bit more out of poverty,” said Danielle Atkinson with Raise Michigan, a coalition working to put a minimum wage increase on the November ballot.

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Newsmaker Interview
4:53 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Republican state senator introduces bill to increase minimum wage

Credit Cedar Bend / Flickr

Michigan voters could see a question about increasing the minimum wage on the ballot this year. A petition drive is under way to collect enough signatures. But one Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill to increase the minimum wage in Michigan. Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, wants to increase the minimum wage from $7.40 to $8.15 an hour and an increase from $2.65 to $2.75 an hour for tipped workers.

“I’m suggesting that this is a good alternative," Jones says. "I don’t want to see all these waiters and waitresses lose these jobs; many of them are single moms who depend on this income and this is very good income for somebody typically with just a high school diploma."

Jones believes that minimum wage is intended as a starter job and that there are good jobs in Michigan, but that companies are having a difficult time filling those positions. Jones emphasizes that people need to understand the risks behind a possible ballot proposal to increase the minimum wage.

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It's Just Politics
2:46 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

GOP plan to stop drive to increase the minimum wage: increase the minimum wage, of course

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It’s Michigan minimum wage redux. This week, conservative Republican state Senator Rick Jones introduced a bill to increase Michigan’s minimum wage from $7.40 to $8.15 an hour. The measure would also increase the minimum wage for tipped workers from $2.65 to $2.75 an hour.

Yes, you read that correctly. A Republican lawmaker wants to increase the state’s minimum wage.

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Politics & Government
4:18 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Sights and sounds from President Obama's speech in Ann Arbor

President Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage.
Melanie Kruvelis Michigan Radio

President Barack Obama spoke on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor today. His speech focused on raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016.

Here's the text of his speech, and you can watch it here.

And you can listen below to hear how the speech wrapped up:

Click on the slideshow above to see some of the images captured during his speech.

Stateside
3:21 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Zingerman's co-founder talks about why raising the minimum wage matters

Paul Saginaw, co-founder of Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He attended the president's speech on raising the minimum wage today.
Melanie Kruvelis Michigan Radio

President Barack Obama was in Ann Arbor today, pushing the Fair Minimum Wage Act.

That’s the bill that would gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2016. Senate Democrats are planning votes on a bill, but Republicans are working to block it.

Back here in Michigan, the minimum wage is $7.40 an hour – though groups are working to gather petition signatures to boost the state's minimum wage.

But can a state that is still recovering from a terrible recession weather a 36% hike in the minimum wage?

Paul Saginaw is co-founder of Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor. He has been pushing to increase the minimum wage and he is already committed to paying Zingerman's workers above the minimum wage.

We talk to Saginaw about the president's push for raising the minimum wage.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
2:48 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Watch President Obama's speech in Ann Arbor

President Obama delivering his speech in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on raising the federal minimum wage.
Melanie Kruvelis Michigan Radio

President Obama is in Ann Arbor on the campus of the University of Michigan today to give a speech on raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016.

You can watch his speech below (or you can follow this link):

Politics & Government
2:35 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

President Obama stops at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor

President Barack Obama visits with patrons during a stop for lunch at Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Mich., April 2, 2014.
Pete Souza White House

President Obama was in Ann Arbor today to give a speech on raising the federal minimum wage. Prior to the speech, Mr. Obama stopped at Zingerman's Delicatessen and ordered a Reuben sandwich. 

From the White House pool report:

POTUS and motorcade stopped at Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor just before 1:30 p.m. With his suit coat off and U.S. Rep. Gary Peters by his side, the president ordered a Reuben sandwich.

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Politics & Government
1:28 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

President Obama in Ann Arbor today calling for a minimum wage increase

President Obama delivering his 2014 State of the Union speech. He called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage during this speech.
Pete Souza White House

A minimum wage increase is something President Obama has been calling for since he was a candidate.

Buzzfeed has a whole collection of "I'm going to raise the minimum wage" videos from campaign stops Obama made in 2008.

Here's one of them:

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Politics & Government
8:24 am
Wed April 2, 2014

The week in Michigan politics

Credit NOAA

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the impact of a fourth member of the state's congressional delegation who won't seek re-election, Medicaid expansion, President Obama's trip to Michigan to talk about the minimum wage, and Detroit's latest plan for bankruptcy.

Week in Michigan Politics interview for 4/2/14

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Politics & Government
9:25 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Students wait for tickets to see President Obama speak in Ann Arbor tomorrow

Students wait in line this morning for tickets to see President Obama speak.
Megha Satyanarayana Michigan Radio

President Obama will fly to Michigan tomorrow aboard Air Force One. He's scheduled to deliver a speech on raising the national minimum wage at around 3 p.m. on the campus of the University of Michigan in the Intramural Sports Building.

The event is open to those with tickets and the media.

Students on the campus of the University of Michigan started lining up last night for tickets. They had to wait overnight with their sleeping bags as the Michigan Union just started distributing tickets at 9 a.m. this morning.

MLive's Ben Freed spoke with students in line last night who told him that seeing the president speak is a "pretty unique opportunity." Janie Brown, Freed writes, was one of the first in line:

“I came down here to get food at about four and then I decided to just set up out here so that I wouldn’t get shafted and not get a ticket,” [Brown said]... 

“The last thing I waited this long for was the midnight showing of the last Harry Potter movie. I showed up more than 15 hours early for that and I was in full costume,” she said.

“But that was in daylight, and for a Harry Potter movie. Hopefully this is a bit more impressive.”

The president's last visit to Michigan was on Feb. 7, 2014 when he signed the Farm Bill into law on the campus of Michigan State University. This will be Obama's third trip to U of M while president. The Ann Arbor News' Kellie Woodhouse points out that no other president has visited more while in office.

Economy
4:45 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

'Wage erosion' is shrinking paychecks in Michigan, but is hiking the minimum wage the solution?

A new study claims Michigan workers in the lowest earning 20% of the workforce are now earning about fifty-five cents an hour less than they did in 2009, when adjusted for inflation.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Michigan’s poorest workers have seen their paychecks shrink as the economy has grown.

A new study claims Michigan workers in the lowest-earning 20% of the workforce are now earning about 55 cents an hour less than they did in 2009, when adjusted for inflation.

Doug Hall authored the study for the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning Washington D.C. think tank.

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Weekly Political Roundup
4:10 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

To raise or not to raise the minimum wage?

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

It's a question Michigan voters may have to answer this November.

The Board of State Canvassers yesterday approved petition language put forward by Raise Michigan, a coalition that wants to increase Michigan’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017, and also index the minimum wage to inflation.

To get the question on the November ballot, it needs to collect 258,000 signatures by May 28.

Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants spoke with All Things Considered Host, Jennifer White.

Politics & Government
11:22 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Minimum wage campaign begins collecting names

The group wants to gradually raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017. It would also end the exemption that allows employers to pay less to workers who earn tips.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The campaign to raise Michigan’s minimum wage will now begin collecting signatures.

A state panel gave the petition campaign the OK to go ahead. The Board of State Canvassers said the petition complies with the law, and now the campaign has until mid-May to collect 258,000 valid signatures. That would put the question to the Legislature. If lawmakers don’t adopt it, then it would go on the November ballot.

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Politics & Government
8:28 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Lessenberry talks potholes, minimum wage, Detroit bankuptcy and same-sex marriage

Matthileo Flickr

This Week in Michigan Politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss money to help fix potholes, an effort to raise the minimum wage, the possible release of Detroit’s bankruptcy plan, and the upcoming trial challenging gay marriage in Michigan.

Week in Michigan Politics interview for 2/19/14

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Politics & Government
7:38 am
Mon February 10, 2014

In this morning's headlines: Minimum wage, Belle Isle, Saginaw schools

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Group files petition today to bump minimum wage to $9.50

"The campaign to raise Michigan’s minimum wage has settled on a target of $9.50 an hour. The group expects to file its petition language later today with state elections officials," Rick Pluta reports.

Belle Isle becomes a state park

Detroit's Belle Isle park becomes Michigan's newest state park today.

"The state is taking over the city-owned park under a lease deal with Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. [The move is] expected to save the bankrupt city between $4 million and $6 million a year," the Associated Press reports.

Saginaw school board continues to negotiate deficit elimination plan

"Saginaw school board members will try again tomorrow to hash out a deficit elimination plan. Last week school board members met three times to discuss a plan to trim the district’s multi-million dollar deficit. The plan included layoffs and school closings," Steve Carmody reports.

It's Just Politics
3:47 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Just how many ballot questions will you be voting on in November? Good question...

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

In 270 days – come Election Day 2014 – it’s not just candidates you’ll be voting for, there are likely to be plenty of ballot questions, too. And, much like 2012, when there were half a dozen ballot questions, we might just see a repeat of Ballot-o-palooza.

Ballot questions can sometimes get people who might not be super-invested in voting for a candidate to actually get out and vote for a particular issue. For example, 2004, when a slew of anti-gay marriage ballot proposals may very well have helped George W. Bush win reelection.

But it’s not easy to get ballot questions passed. Voters tend to shy away from passing new laws via ballot. In fact, if you don’t start out with more than a 60% approval of your question, the chances are you won’t win come Election Day.

In 2012, $154 million dollars were spent on ballot questions and yet all six were defeated.

Which raises the issue: Money spent on ballot questions is often money that would otherwise be spent on other campaigns. Thus, the decision to go to the ballot with a certain issue raises lots of questions: Is it the best use of money, personnel, volunteers? How will it affect turnout – that’s if it affects turnout at all.

What will this year’s dynamic be?

Well, look for news early next week on the minimum wage ballot drive that would initiate a law raising Michigan’s minimum wage to somewhere between $9 and $10 an hour.

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