minimum wage

Newsmaker Interview
5:21 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

What the state could gain by raising the minimum wage

sushi ina flickr

There is legislation pending at the national and state level that seeks to increase the minimum wage. In Michigan it's $7.40 per hour, just over the federal minimum wage of $7.25.  A person working full time and earning the minimum would pull down just over $15,300 per year before taxes. 

Now, there are three bills from Democrats in the state legislature seeking an increase of Michigan’s minimum wage to $9 or $10 per hour. Opponents of those bills say it would lead to layoffs, decreased hours, and a spike in prices. Proponents say now is the time to increase the minimum wage.

Today, we talked with Yannet Lathrop, policy analyst with the Michigan League for Public Policy and author of the study “Raising the Minimum Wage: Good for Working Families, Good for Michigan’s Economy.” 

Listen to the full interview above.

Opinion
9:12 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Raising the minimum wage is the least we can do

Lessenberry commentary for 11/19/13

How would you like to work 40 hours a week, every week of the year, for an annual income of $19,240 dollars? I didn’t think so.

The good news, if you could call it that, is that Mark Schauer, the Democratic candidate for governor next year, wants to raise the minimum wage to that level. Which would be, precisely $9.25 an hour. The bad news is that our current minimum is a lot worse at $7.40 an hour. 

Someone working for it full-time makes only a little over $15,000. And the worst news is there is little chance of the minimum being raised to the level the candidate wants.

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Politics & Government
7:55 am
Mon November 18, 2013

In this morning's headlines: 460,000 without power, six wolves killed, minimum wage increase

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

460,000 without power

A storm with winds up to 70 miles per hour and heavy rain knocked down trees and power lines across Michigan yesterday. 460,000 homes and businesses are without power. Consumers Energy says power should be restored by late Wednesday for most customers and by Thursday for those in isolated areas.

Six wolves killed in hunt

"Michigan’s controversial wolf hunt wrapped up  its first weekend with just six wolves killed in the first three days. Michigan wildlife officials have set a goal of 43 wolves in this year’s hunt," Steve Carmody reports.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate wants to raise minimum wage to $9.25

"Mark Schauer says he'll make raising the minimum wage a top priority as Michigan governor. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate is proposing to increase Michigan's minimum wage from $7.40 an hour to $9.25 per hour over three years," the Associated Press reports.

Investigative
9:06 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Making $1.50 an hour to pick blueberries

Chuck Grimmet flickr

This week I’m bringing you segments from my documentary, “Voices from the Fields,” a story of migrant workers in Michigan. It will air Wednesday on Stateside.

To hear the audio story, click here

Michigan is the nation’s largest producer of blueberries. But getting blueberries to our bowls means long tedious work for the people who pick them. And in some cases, workers complain that the pay is far too low.

When I was reporting for this documentary, I visited the Hamilton Family.

When I met up with them they were living in a broken down trailer behind an old flea market garage and a vacant parking lot cluttered with tall weeds in southwest Michigan.

Seven people were living in the trailer. One of them was Randy Hamilton Sr., the father of the family. They are white and are a minority in the fields. Hamtilon Sr. has been doing migrant work since he was in 8th grade. That's when he dropped out of school in order to make money picking in the fields.  

“There’s no other jobs for us that you’ve got a high school diploma, and we don’t have it,” he says.

The Hamilton’s were out of work and out of money.

They quit their job picking blueberries in southwest Michigan. That’s because they couldn’t keep up with the picking demands in order to make minimum wage.

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Stateside
5:18 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Should fast food workers make more than minimum wage? Moo Cluck Moo says yes

The employee that made this buffalo chicken burger earns $12 an hour.
Twitter

The push by fast food workers to make more than minimum wage has swept across the nation. It's raised the question: can fast-food restaurants pay their workers more than the $7.40 an hour minimum wage? If they do, will they last? Is it sustainable?

At the fast food restaurant Moo Cluck Moo, the answer is yes.

Moo Cluck Moo serves up burgers, chicken, shakes in Dearborn Heights in Wayne County.  And starting wages at Moo Cluck Moo are $12.00 an hour.

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Politics & Culture
5:09 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

It's called many things -- the

ACA, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. As implementation of the law continues, so does the confusion. On today's show, we sat down and tried to make sense of it all. What will the law mean for Michigan and for you?

And, we spoke with the Detroit Bureau correspondent for the new TV network Al Jazeera America.

And, author Jim Tobin and illustrator Dave Coverly joined us to talk about their new children’s book.

And, public transportation can be confusing, especially for children. The Youth Transit Alliance in Detroit is looking to improve this. 

Also, Moo Cluck Moo, a fast food restaurant in Dearborn Heights, has stepped up and raised their starting wage to $12 an hour. The founder spoke with us about why he thinks fast food workers deserve to be paid more than minimum wage.

First on the show, President Obama is conditionally endorsing a Russian offer for international inspectors to seize and destroy chemical weapons in Syria. It's an effort to avert U.S. missile strikes.

President Obama addressed the nation last night amidst the continued erosion of support in Congress for military strikes. The President's speech drew mixed reactions from Michigan's Congressional delegation.

Todd Spangler, D.C. based reporter for the Detroit Free Press, joined us today from Washington.

Economy
5:11 pm
Sun September 1, 2013

Calls to raise minimum wage return with Labor Day

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A call to raise the minimum wage has returned in the run-up to Labor Day.

It's come in the form of worker rallies and a report finding Michigan ranks second-to-worst among states for wage growth during the past 30 years.

Fast-food workers in Detroit, Flint, Lansing and elsewhere protested Thursday demanding higher wages. They seek $15 an hour - more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

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Economy
12:00 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Report shows increase in people earning poverty wages in Michigan

Fast food workers in Detroit strike for higher wages.
Credit www.detroit15.org

The Michigan League for Public Policy released its Labor Day report today. The report shows Michigan  increased the number of workers earning a poverty wage.

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Politics & Government
7:38 am
Mon July 29, 2013

In this morning's news: School safety drills, unconstitutional tracking tech, minimum wage protests

Morning News Roundup for Monday, July 29, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Safety drills in schools are being ignored

Under a proposal in Lansing, schools would be forced to report when and how emergency safety drills are conducted. As Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher reports, state police officials say too many schools are ignoring laws meant to ensure school safety. The reports would have to be posted on schools’ web sites whenever they conduct a safety drill.

Tracking by cell phone GPS could become a felony

Another piece of legislation in Lansing would make it a felony for police officers to track someone by GPS in their cell phone without a warrant. The US Supreme Court ruled last year that the practice is unconstitutional. Democratic state Representative Jeff Irwin says the legislation is necessary to make sure law enforcement agencies are held accountable for such actions.

Fast food workers protesting in Detroit and Flint

Workers at some fast food chains in Detroit and Flint are expected to walk off the job as part of a protest for higher wages today. They want to be paid fifteen dollars an hour. Michigan’s current minimum wage is $7.40. The strike is expected to affect some McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy’s and other fast food restaurants.

Business
12:45 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Fast food workers expected to strike in Flint & Detroit today

ebruli http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrbling/

It may be difficult to get a fast food hamburger in parts of Detroit and Flint later today.

Workers at some fast food chains in six cities, including the two in Michigan, are expected to walk off the job as part of a protest for higher wages.

They want to be paid $15 an hour. Michigan’s current minimum wage is $7.40.

Claudette Wilson is a member of Detroit–15,  a group that advocates for a higher wage for fast food workers. Wilson defended raising fast food worker wages at a news conference in Lansing last week. 

“I believe that changing the wage from $7.40 to $15 will provide a better living circumstance for workers that are living in poverty,” says Wilson.

The strike is expected to affect some McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s and other fast food restaurants.

Business
4:08 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

There's a new push for a higher minimum wage in Michigan

What should Michigan's minimum wage be?
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Several groups are calling for an increase in the Michigan minimum wage to ten dollars an hour.

The current rate in Michigan is $7.40 an hour. That's higher than the national minimum wage.  Michigan is among more than a dozen states with minimum wage rates higher than the federal benchmark. 

Danielle Atkinson is with ‘Mothering Justice’, one of the groups calling on state lawmakers to increase Michigan’s minimum wage.

“We believe a hard day’s work deserves a fair pay. And it’s time for the Michigan legislature to support that as well,” says Atkinson. 

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Economy
1:22 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

An average family in Ann Arbor needs $68,140 to get by

What is takes for families to get by in cities around the country.
EPI

That's the estimate for a family made up of two parents and two kids.

The numbers are calculated by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank based in Washington D.C.

You can look up your specific living situation with their updated "Family Budget Calculator."

EPI says the calculator estimates the annual income a family needs for a "secure yet modest living standard."

It estimates expenses related to housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities, and taxes. And by their calculations, families at the poverty level set by the federal government are nowhere near the EPI's "getting by" threshold.

The budgets, updated for 2013, are calculated for 615 U.S. communities and six family types (either one or two parents with one, two, or three children)...EPI’s family budgets offer a higher degree of geographic customization and provide a more accurate measure of economic security. In all cases, they show families need more than twice the amount of the federal poverty line to get by.

Of the 20 areas the EPI examined in Michigan, the Ann Arbor area came out on top as the most expensive place to live.  Rural Michigan was the least expensive.

Here's a look at the Michigan areas EPI put into their calculator, from most expensive to least expensive (for two-parent, two-child families):

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Economy
3:23 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Is rent affordable for Michigan's minimum wage workers? Group says 'no'

The darker the yellow, the less affordable rent is. Michigan was ranked 30 out of 52 (incl. Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico).
National Low Income Housing Coalition

The National Low Income Housing Coalition asked the question, "where in America can a low-wage worker afford a two bedroom apartment?"

Their answer:

"Nowhere"

That's "nowhere" assuming the renter is spending no more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.

Ask any financial advisor and they'll tell you that's the general rule of thumb. It's called the 'housing cost burden.'

Read more
Economy
3:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Stateside: The impact of increasing minimum wage

Proposed increase in minimum wage could put more money in Michigander's pockets
wikimedia commons

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

The subject of minimum wage is on the front burner these days nationally, and in Lansing.

President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that he wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.

And now, there's a proposal afoot in Lansing to boost the state minimum wage to $10 an hour.

We had MPRN's Jake Neher and Michigan State University economics professor Charley Ballard tell us just what would the impact be on Michigan's economy, its businesses and its workers, if the minimum wage was boosted.

Politics & Government
6:49 am
Thu February 14, 2013

In this morning's news: Minimum wage, graduation rates and Detroit State of the City

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Proposed bill would raise minimum wage

"On the heels of President Obama’s call to boost the federal minimum wage, lawmakers in Lansing have introduced a bill to lift the state’s minimum wage to ten dollars an hour. The measure would phase in higher wages until 2016. After that, they would be tied to inflation. Right now, the state’s minimum wage is 7.40 an hour," Jake Neher reports.

More Michigan high schoolers are graduating in time

A new report shows more Michigan high schoolers are graduating on time. According to the Detroit Free Press,

Overall, the data from the Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Information shows the graduation rate for the Class of 2012 was 76.24%, an increase from the Class of 2011 rate of 74.33%.

Detroit State of the City address looks at the positive and a possible state takeover

"Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says it’s 'time to change the conversation' about the city, and focus on the positive. Bing’s annual state of the city address Wednesday night touched briefly on Detroit's ongoing financial crisis—and the prospect of state intervention," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Economy
2:31 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Increasing minimum wage in Michigan

State Senator Bert Johnson (D-Detroit).
Bert Johnson

A bill in the state Legislature would boost Michigan’s minimum wage from $7.40 an hour to $10 an hour.

It was introduced just a day after President Obama called for a federal minimum wage increase in his State of the Union address.

Under the proposal, higher wages would be phased in until 2016. After that, the state’s minimum wage would be tied to inflation.

State Senator Bert Johnson (D-Detroit) says Michiganders can’t get by on $7.40 an hour.

“It’s time that we support workers, support women, support people who are just making it so they can make more,” said Johnson.

“I had no advanced notice of what the President would talk about in his speech yesterday, so I didn’t know this was going to be a priority of his,” he said. “I’m glad that his speech dovetails an introduction so important like this, because it really crystalizes the issue at not just a state level but also the federal level.”

The bill isn’t likely to get far in the Republican-controlled state Senate. Majority Leader Randy Richardville says he’s not on board.

“Wages and who is going to get what wage is best determined in the marketplace,” said Richardville.

The last time the state increased its minimum wage was in 2008.

Employment
3:28 pm
Sat October 1, 2011

Ohio's minimum wage will increase in January

Flickr bfishadow

Ohio's minimum wage will increase by 30 cents to $7.70 an hour at the start of 2012. Officials at the state Department of Commerce said Friday that the increase is part of a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2006, which says minimum wage will increase each year at the rate of inflation.

The $7.70 rate applies to workers 16 and older who don't get tips. The wage for tipped employees will be $3.85, a 15 cent increase.

The wage will be required from employers who gross more than $283,000 annually, up from the current $271,000.

Economy
4:38 pm
Tue May 31, 2011

Study: Michigan families need 3 times minimum wage to thrive

user j wynia Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A new study says a single parent in Michigan with a preschooler and a school-age child needs to earn more than three times the state's minimum wage to be economically
secure.

Wider Opportunities for Women and the Michigan League for Human Services released the report Tuesday.

The study says the wage-earner in that family of three needs to earn about $52,000 a year with benefits to cover child care, housing, health care, transportation, savings and retirement.

A state report says nearly six out of 10 jobs expected to be created in Michigan through 2018 won't enable a worker to earn that much.

The league says reducing tax credits for low-income workers and cutting spending on children's clothing allowances also are making it harder for hard-pressed families to reach economic security.

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