Lansing, MI: State Representative Abraham Aiyash (D – Hamtramck) introduced HB 4413, to amend the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, to raise the Michigan minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“In the richest and most powerful country in the history of the world, it is unconscionable that folks are still being paid starvation wages,” Aiyash said. “The pandemic has shown us that those who do essential work in our communities are paid far below what they deserve. Let’s be clear, however, $15 is the floor, not the ceiling. We must do more beyond this, but this start is critical for our working families.”
House Bill 4413 would increase the state minimum wage to $15.00 over a period of 5 years, beginning on January 1, 2022. The minimum wage will increase by $1.00 each year until January 2027, at which point the minimum wage will increase each year based upon the changes in the consumer price index.
“Any worker who is working to provide for themselves and their families should be paid at least $15 an hour,” said Nia Winston, President of UNITE HERE! Local 24. “We should not expect nor tolerate workers being paid poverty wages in this country,”
In Michigan, 14% of the population is earning below the Federal Poverty Level and 29% are considered ALICE (ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families struggling to make ends meet. The ALICE Project, led by the Michigan Association of United Ways, provides a clear understanding on the economic wellbeing of Michigan families. Their research indicates that the “Household Survival Budget” increased by 27% from 2010 – 2017, while wages have remained flat. In total, roughly 40% of Michigan families are employed in jobs that pay them under $15/hour. With no increase in minimum wage, we risk further increasing the gap in economic inequality.
“Nobody working full time should live in poverty. Michigan must increase the minimum wage to $15 and strengthen worker bargaining power,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO.
“Fair wages and benefits, safety at work, and dignity and respect on the job are foundations of the labor movement,” said Lawrence Roehrig, President of AFSCME Council 25. “Countless men and women have gone to work throughout this pandemic- delivering meals to students, keeping healthcare facilities running and sanitized, providing frontline public services and support, and keeping our grocery store shelves stocked, only to be paid so little that they can’t even support themselves. ALL workers deserve these basic principles of fairness and respect, and deserve to be paid a living wage. AFSCME is proud to support a $15 an hour minimum wage.”
The legislation, with over 15 legislative co-sponsors, has the support of several other labor groups including SEIU’s Michigan State Council and AFT Michigan; as well as grassroots organizations, such as: We the People of Detroit, Sierra Club, Progress Michigan, Detroit Action and Michigan United.
Rep. Aiyash added, “Michigan is the state that built the middle class. We must be the leaders in the fight for pay equity. A $15 minimum wage isn’t a partisan issue – Americans all across the political spectrum support this idea. We cannot wait for Washington to act.”