DETROIT (WWJ) — Even though Michigan’s minimum wage is going up to $9.25 an hour in 2018 — a group is now working to make it $12 an hour by 2022.
The State Board of Canvassers has approved a ballot initiative that would raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2022. Alicia Renee Farris is the Michigan Campaign chair for the group One Fair Wage. She says that even though the Michigan Chamber of Commerce opposes the plan, there are some who think it’s a good idea.
“We have small businesses that are supporting and they are operating on business plans where they said ‘it may take us some time but overall we support better wages for our employees,'” Farris told WWJ Newsradio 950. “That’s why it’s gradual. It’s not like $12 will be tomorrow. We wish it could, but the reality is that businesses have to prepare for these increases and plan for them.”
Other states and cities have drastically raised minimum wages over time as well. That includes Seattle who is gradually raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021. The goal of the increase was to better the lives of low-wage workers, however, it has resulted in workers losing hours.
Farris says she isn’t worried about this happening in Michigan, and again points to businesses using a better planning process as a way to avoid cutting workers’ hours and layoffs.
“I understand their concerns, but again this is a planning process,” Farris said. “So you have to plan to succeed. They may have to revisit business plans to find out where they can trim, but it should not be on the backs of vulnerable people who have to do the same things, (like) support their families.”
She added that the groups goal is to also end Michigan’s two chair pay system so that even workers who receive tips will have a $12 per hour minimum wage.
The group will need to collect over 250,000 signatures to get the proposal on the ballot. Farris says it will be an all volunteer effort.