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Michigan Senate Votes To Gut Minimum Wage, Sick Leave Laws

capitol photo
WKAR File Photo

The state’s minimum wage might not reach 12 dollars an hour until 2030. That’s if proposed changes to a recently adopted law finish making their way through the state Legislature. The state Senate passed the changes Wednesday.

The law the Legislature wants to change was originally a ballot initiative that it adopted a couple months ago. It calls for a 12-dollars an hour minimum wage 8 years sooner than the bill now before the state House. 

Supporters of the original law are frustrated. 

Lawrence Roehrig is President of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. He said the Legislature is working too quickly to gut a law the people wanted.

“This doesn’t spell democracy in my mind,” said Roehrig. 

Part of the bill would also take the state back to a capped, lower wage for tipped workers. The current law eventually calls for a 12-dollars an hour minimum wage for tipped workers.

“In 1989 I was making $2.52 an hour,” said 30 year restaurant industry worker, Tracy Pease. “In the matter of 30 years, I’ve had a one dollar raise. Let that sink in.”

But advocates of the changes say they are necessary to protect Michigan’s economy.

“We are doing what we believe is the best to keep Michigan’s economic engine going, providing the way for employers and employees to make their agreements together,” said Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive).

A spokesperson for the House of Representatives says it’ll start considering Senate Bill 1171 soon.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County.
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