Bridging the Opportunity Divide

Inside Michigan’s Minimum Wage Wars

June 3, 2014
by
Menu
Inside Michigan’s Minimum Wage Wars
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
The Governor increases the state's pay, as labor groups fight to put the issue on the ballot.

Days after the formal plans for a nationwide strike in the fast food industry, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder tried to get ahead of the game by signing a wage increase, bumping his state’s minimum wage to $9.25 an hour over the next four years.

According to the Washington Post, Governor Snyder, commended his “partners in the legislature for finding common ground on a bill that will help Michigan workers and protect our state’s growing economy.”

Snyder signed the legislation just under the wire. Why? Labor groups had racked up more than 300,000 signatures supporting the addition of a minimum wage hike to this November’s ballot.

However, their efforts may be without a conclusion as the initiative may not be eligible for the ballot. Although the initiative only needed 258,087 signatures (or eight percent of the overall votes cast) since the Governor signed a bill repealing the current minimum wage law, the original law that the labor groups opposed will no longer be in place.

This effort is just another step in increasing minimum wage across the U.S. According to the Department of Labor, two states — Georgia and Wyoming — are tied for the lowest minimum wage (out of a total of 45 possible states with minimum wage laws) coming in with a total of $5.15 per hour. However, the federal minimum wage is $7.25; it supersedes state laws, according to the Department of Labor. Five states currently are without minimum wage laws: Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.

MORE: A Northwestern State Proves That a Higher Minimum Wage Doesn’t Necessarily Increase Unemployment

According to CBS Detroit Local News, Michigan’s current minimum wage is $7.40 — making it almost $2 an hour more than the lowest, but still far behind the state of Washington, which has the highest minimum wage at $9.32 an hour. Governor Snyder’s bill almost levels the playing field between Washington and Michigan.

Nationally, President Obama pushing for a raise of at least $10 an hour. According to the New York Times, a White House official shared, “the President has long supported raising the minimum wage so hard-working Americans can have a decent wage for a day’s work to support their families and make ends meet.” His Fair Minimum Wage Act or the Harkin-Miller Bill ups the minimum wage to $10.10, which in order to lessen the burden on employers, proposes raising the minimum wage in a series of steps over a few years.

With minimum wage being a hot topic during the mid-term election campaigns, guaranteed this discussion is far from over — even in Michigan.

 

Comments