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Group urges Michigan Dems to support minimum wage increase

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(The Center Square) – One Fair Wage isn’t giving up on a higher minimum wage in Michigan, despite an October ruling that ended a chance to get the question before voters in 2024.

Instead, the group is banking on a court case and lawmakers to push the state’s non-tipped minimum wage eventually to $15 an hour.

A 2024 ballot proposal to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2027, circulated by One Fair Wage, had collected more than 360,000 signatures. But the Republican-led Board of State Canvassers ruled in October the language of the petition varied from what was originally approved, accusing One Fair Wage of misleading voters.

The Michigan Supreme Court declined late last week to overturn the Board of State Canvasser’s decision.

The battle for raising the state’s minimum wage has raged for years. The Republican-led legislature in 2018 had adopted and immediately weakened separate minimum wage and paid sick leave proposals, using the controversial “adopt and amend” tactic.

In response, One Fair Wage and Mothering Justice filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the tactic. James Hawk, the lead plaintiff in the pending case, also participated in the Tuesday press briefing.

“We are very optimistic that the [Michigan] Supreme Court will in fact rule…that what the Republican-led legislature in 2018 did was unconstitutional…and we’re calling on the legislature to listen to the will of the voters as Republicans have not,” Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage, said.

The conference also featured Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners, who said recent polling data shows broad support among Michigan voters for a minimum wage increase.

Lake said the data also has strategic implications for Michigan Democrats heading into the 2024 election. Voters report a greater likelihood of both showing up to the polls and voting for candidates who support the wage increase if the measure appears on the ballot.

“[People] are overwhelmingly in favor of this policy…they’re more motivated to vote for candidates who support this measure. It is a no-brainer for the Democratic-led state legislature to vote for this policy.”

The minimum wage in Michigan is currently $10.33 per hour for non-tipped workers and $3.93 per hour for tipped workers.

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