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Politics

Michigan Lawmakers Raise the Wage

If the minimum wage had stayed even with inflation since 1968 it would now be $10.56. Therefore, it may be obvious that raising the minimum wage to 9 dollars an hour is only fair. After all, that’s $18,700 per year, which makes that income just above the poverty line for a family of three. It would put more money in the hands of families who desperately need it. Fifteen million workers would get a pay raise, allowing them to buy more and therefore keeping others working. On the other hand, opponents to raising the minimum wage argued that it would cause employers to shed jobs and therefore unemployment would increase.

This past May, the Michigan legislature passed SB 0934, a bill that will gradually raise the minimum wage to $9.25 by 2018; this is a 25 percent increase over the $7.40 wage. This past Labor Day, Michigan workers experienced an increase in the minimum wage to $8.15. This is the first time the minimum wage has increased in 6 years.

Raise Michigan, the group who started the ballot drive to raise the minimum wage will hold a celebration in Detroit even though it wasn’t a complete victory for the group. The group had aimed to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017 and failed to get enough signatures.

The Republican-led legislature, in passing SB 0934 avoided the potential $10.10 hike by repealing the state’s original minimum wage law and replacing it with a new one. The Wage and Hour Program under the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) enforces the minimum wage law. The law states that a newly hired employee between 16 and 19 can make a $4.25 training wage fro the first 90 days of employment. Employees aged 16 and 17 are eligible to make 85 percent of the minimum wage, but have to make at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Tipped employees, such as waitresses, have experienced the minimum wage increase to $3.10 and will see it rise to $3.52 when the law is fully implemented in 2018.

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Michigan Lawmakers Raise the Wage