Protesters have demanded a living wage of $15 an hour nationwide.
Michigan’s minimum hourly wage is set to increase 23 cents on Jan. 1, far less than voters were promised in 2018.
The current hourly minimum wage of $9.87 is set to increase to $10.10 an hour in the new year. For tipped employees, the rate increases to just $3.84 an hour.
But if lobbyists and Republicans don’t get their way, the minimum wage could soon increase even more.
At issue is a 2018 petition initiative organized by One Fair Wage that sought to raise minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2022 and increase annually with inflation. The coalition collected hundreds of thousands of signatures to force the Legislature to either adopt it or send it to voters in the next general election ballot.
The Republican-led Legislature adopted the bills in September 2018, but quickly weakened the legislation in a controversial switcheroo that landed in court.
Under the weakened bills, minimum wage would increase to $12 by 2030, as long as unemployment is low.
But in July 2022, the Michigan Court of Claims ruled that the Legislature violated the state constitution by weakening the initiatives.
The decision has been appealed.
If the case is not overruled, the minimum wage will increase to $13.03 an hour and $11.73 for tipped employees.
Groups such as Save Michigan Restaurants and the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association have urged the Legislature to slow the minimum wage increase, saying a significant hike would be difficult for small businesses to afford.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
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