In 2018, more than 400,000 Michigan voters signed petitions to increase the minimum wage and guarantee paid sick time for all workers with the goal of letting voters decide the issue in the November election. In September, however, Lansing legislators took away our right to decide by approving new laws that will gradually increase the minimum wage to $12 per hour and allow all Michigan workers to earn paid sick time.
We are proud to celebrate this victory for working families, but the fight is not over.
During the lame duck session, law makers passed SB 1171, gutting the One Fair Wage proposal that would have eliminated the subminimum wage and raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour for all workers by 2024. Instead, the senate-passed bill instead re-institutes the subminimum wage and only increase it from $3.52 per hour to $4 by 2030.
With this action, republican lawmakers took the first step toward gutting the One Fair Wage proposal, snatching back the raises they gave Michigan’s tipped and minimum wage workers when they adopted it.
In 2019, Attorney General Dana Nessel promised an opinion on the constitutionality of the senate’s decision. In March, however, her office reported that she will not issue an opinion regarding the implementation of the new paid sick leave and minimum wage proposals while the matter is still in the courts.
Her decision means that absent a surprise Supreme Court ruling, both laws will go into effect March 29, 2019 as passed in lame duck and will stay that way unless progress advocates are later successful in the courts.