LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A Republican bill to raise the minimum wage from $7.40 to $9.20 an hour has passed the Michigan Senate.
The bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville passed 24-14 and now goes to the House. It would tie the minimum wage to inflation with a cap and raise the wage for tipped employees from $2.65 to $3.50 by 2017.
Richardville initially proposed a target wage of $8.15 but changed it to $9.20 by 2017 on Thursday after negotiations.
It was a bipartisan effort.
“And here’s the important piece for the Democrats: They wanted an automatic inflationary increase written into this law, so that if inflation goes up, the minimum wage would go up — the so-called CPI factor,” reported WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.. “If that had not been in the bill, the Democrats would have voted no, but they voted yes because it was.”
The compromise all came together fairly quickly.
“You know, it’s kind of funny. I’ve been watching this process for a long time, and when lawmakers finally decide to do something they can do it in record time, and they did,” Skubick said.
The bill repeals the existing wage law and enacts a new one. It could thwart a ballot drive to gradually raise the wage to $10.10 by 2017. The campaign has collected more than the 258,000 signatures needed for a measure to appear on the November ballot to amend current law.
The bill now moves on to the House.
Proposed Bill “Falls Short”
Dave Woodward is with the Raise Michigan Coalition, and he’s not happy with this action.
“First, this is a direct effort to subvert a citizen led initiative to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. And most importantly, this proposal falls short,” says Woodward.
Woodward says $10.10 an hour will provide a worker with only the basics; so, $7.40 just doesn’t cut it.
“What does it take for a full-time worker to be able to afford their basic needs; to provide for food, shelter and the base essentials. Even phasing in to $9.20 over a period of time doesn’t get us there,” says Woodward.
He also says that the rest of us are going to pick up the tab.
“Being able to insure that workers working full-time can meet their basic needs. At the same time, allowing corporations to pay such low wages that requires the rest of us to subsidize them, and that’s wrong. And that’s why the people are overwhelmingly in support of raising the minimum wage to $10.10. We’re going to continue to fight for that,” he says.
And Woodward adds, “The real losers in here are predominantly women, and particularly mothers with children; and the rest of us who are subsidizing corporations who choose to pay their workers such low wages that they can’t afford basic needs. So, we’re very disappointed.”
Woodward also says the bill is designed to do an end-run around voters.
“The sponsor of this bill, Senator Richardville, was very clear — ‘I am trying to do this to stop the ballot initiative.’ Bottom line is that this proposal still falls far short of insuring that a full-time worker is able to afford their basic needs and provide for themselves and their family,” says Woodward.
Woodward says his coalition will continue it’s efforts to get the minimum wage initiative on the ballot.
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