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Michigan might raise minimum wage by 44%

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Lefty48197 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:48 PM
Original message
Michigan might raise minimum wage by 44%
First, a little history on the minimum wage in Michigan:

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=20066031...

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060...

The Detroit News graphic shows that the minimum wage in Michigan was raised to $3.35 per hour in Jan. 1981, then raised again to $4.75 per hour in May 1997, then bumped again to $5.15 per hour in September of that same year, when it was raised by the federal government. The gain of $1.80 per hour was a 54% increase, but it occurred SIXTEEN years after the previous raise. For sixteen straight years, minimum wage earners had watched the buying power of their wages DROP due to inflation that was not matched by wage increases.

Low wage earners losing buying power is a recipe for an increase in the poverty rates.

The minimum wage increase in 1997 still only amounted to about a 3% "annual" increase.
I wonder if the hotels and restaurants that employ minimum wage earners in Michigan held their rates down for the sixteen years that their workers weren't getting wage increases?

There is a proposal in the Michigan legislature now that, if passed, would increase the minimum wage to $6.95 per hour in October 2006. The raise will represent an increase of about 37%. Since the last raise occured nine years ago, this represents an increase of about 3% per year.

This proposed raise in the minimum wage will really only be the second raise in TWENTY FIVE YEARS.

The bill would raise the minimum wage to $7.40 in July 2008, where it will again stagnate for from nine to sixteen years.

That's the problem. The Republicans in the legislature ALWAYS vote to block minimum wage increases, and it takes forever to get any increase passed. If the Democrats had it their way, then the minimum wage would go up every single year. That way the buying power of our poorest workers would not be eroded by inflation.

That's why the Michigan Democrats proposed a ballot initiative. They are collecting signatures to put the issue on the ballot. Their initiative would raise the minimum wage to $6.85 in January 2007, and then mandate annual increases based on the inflation rate.

Here's a link to a story that describes how the ballot initiative came to fruition:

http://www.michigandaily.com/media/paper851/news/2005/0...

"Leaders of the AFL-CIO of Michigan and Service Employees International Union said yesterday they would prefer to see lawmakers approve a package of bills proposed by House and Senate Democrats to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.15 over two years. But they have not ruled out getting the issue on the 2006 general election ballot."

...has to be done one way or another, state AFL-CIO president Mark Gaffney said during a Capitol news conference to officially announce the proposed legislation."

Since the Republican dominated legislature refused to take up the issue, the Democrats started the petition drive to put the issue on the ballot. The ballot issue contains one more gem. It mandates an annual increase in the minimum wage, in the state Constitution, based on the inflation rate, that even our right wing legislature couldn't block.

That annual increase is "The Big Enchilada". That's why the Republicans suddenly did an about-face (flip-flop) on the issue of a minimum wage increase. Yesterday, our state Senate voted UNANIMOUSLY to raise the minimum wage to $7.40 by July 2008.

UNANIMOUSLY! That means that every single one of the REPUBLICANS voted FOR the measure to raise the minimum wage!

Why did they do such an about-face?

Because they want to kill the ballot issue. Polls show that up to 80% of the voters support the ballot proposal. The Republicans fear that it will draw Democrats to the polls, and their big business friends fear increases in the minimum wage that can't be blocked by Republicans.

Interesting that House Republican Leader Craig DeRoche had these comments about the Democrats attempt to raise the minmum wage through the legislative process, "I think that the voters very clearly would understand that this is a job-killing proposal and that this is going to create a worse economic environment in Michigan, not a better one, he said during a news conference in his Capitol office."

Today he said, "the minimum wage legislation could be acted upon as early as next week in the House". He said the Senate proposal is "far more responsible" and "a lot better for workers" than the ballot plan.

Guess Craig supports "job killing proposals" all of the sudden...

I hope the petition drive to put the issue on our ballot continues, and I hope the measure passes. We cannot let the Republicans out-flank us on this issue and take away this one real chance we have to mandate annual increases in our minimum wage.

KEEP ON FIGHTING!

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Upfront Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:54 PM
Response to Original message
1. Governor Granholm
Has said she will sign this into law if it gets to her desk, but she still will push the ballot proposal. Good for her.
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European Socialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
2. It's about stinkin time. Beware of the puke proposal--you know somethings
got to be fishy.
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FreedomAngel82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. This will be a good issue for the democrat in 2008
Kerry didn't pound hard enough on this issue I think. If he pounded on this as much as they did with abortion and gay marriage I think the exit polls wouldn't have been easy for them to dismiss.
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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 08:47 PM
Response to Original message
4. Good post, Lefty!
Thanks for the three stories.
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Lefty48197 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 11:49 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Thank you!
...and you're welcome!
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 01:07 AM
Response to Original message
6. Oregon's is $7.50 and indexed
I can't remember what it started out as, around $7, and has been indexed for 4-5 years now. Our economy has improved and unemployment has gone down; so much for that argument. Good luck!!
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UrbScotty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-12-06 06:16 PM
Response to Original message
7. I'm still fighting!
;-)
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