Slotkin Votes for Bipartisan Bill to Raise Michigan Workers’ Wages
WASHINGTON –– U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) voted in favor of the bipartisan Raise the Wage Act yesterday, a bill that would gradually raise the minimum wage over the course of five years, raising wages for 99,100 workers in Michigan’s 8th district, nearly 1 in 3 workers.
This bill makes a critical update in the $7.25 federal minimum wage, which has not been raised in a decade, the longest period without a minimum wage increase in U.S. history.
“Today I cast a vote for a livable wage,” Slotkin said. “I firmly believe that if you work 40 hours a week and play by the rules, you should be able to live outside of poverty. The increase would mean that Michiganders would see an increase to a 15-dollar minimum wage, with more money in Michigan workers’ pockets, but done gradually so our small businesses can manage the change. I’m glad to see this bill pass with bipartisan support, and I urge Senator McConnell to give it an up or down vote.”
Facts on the Raise the Wage Act:
- Gradually raises the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.00 per hour in six increments over the course of five years.
- The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 since 2009 –– for a decade, the longest period without a minimum wage increase in U.S. history. Due to inflation, and increasing costs for healthcare and housing, the federal minimum wage is now worth nearly 20% less than it was 10 years ago.
- The Raise the Wage Act would eventually raise wages for nearly 1 in 3 workers in Michigan’s 8th district (28% of workers, or 99,100 residents).
- Under the Raise the Wage Act, Michigan workers would receive a 12.5% raise by 2025, which is an extra $2,400 per year for year-round, affected workers.
- Given Michigan’s current $9.45 minimum wage, affected Michigan workers would start to see a raise by 2022, when the federal minimum wage would eclipse Michigan’s minimum wage.
- Per the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, a $15 minimum wage would lift approximately 1.3 million people across the country out of poverty.
Workers and small business owners in Michigan’s 8th district expressed support for the bill:
“I have always been for raising the minimum wage, and support an increase to 15 dollars an hour,” said Teresa Wren, owner of Kean's, a 90-year-old five and dime store in Mason. “I have a small business with 18 employees that has been in our family for 90 years. We pay our employees above the minimum wage, because we know that having a successful business means investing in our staff. I think it's smart that this bill will raise the wage gradually over five years, allowing workers to keep up with rising prices and be able to support their families."
“Before my husband and I started our small business last year, we both worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years,” said Carly Leisk, Owner of Culture Beer and Cheese in Brighton. “We understand how important it is for workers to have a living wage, and definitely support efforts to gradually raise wages to 15 dollars an hour, with confidence our business will continue to thrive.
“I have been a server working for tips for over 5 years I am 40 years old. I have 2 children and have to live with my parents because I cannot afford to live on just $3.52 an hour. I have to rely on public assistance and half the time it gets cut off along with my Medicaid because my income fluctuates so often. Making $15 an hour or at least the regular not sub-minimum wage as everyone else plus tips, would give me a steady income and I could afford to pay some bills including afford car insurance that is extremely high in michigan. I support the Raise The Wage Act to raise the minimum wage on a federal level that includes tip workers,” said Tanya Garcia, Tipped Worker in East Lansing.
“I’m 19 and work at McDonalds for minimum wage. I am the youngest person to work at my restaurant by far, most of my co-workers are over 25 years old and have kids. They make the same amount of money I do, and I hear everyday their challenges of making ends meet. My dream is to become a chef, but even with a culinary degree, many chefs and cooks in my area aren’t making much more than minimum wage, because everyone else is making low wages. It makes me not want to pursue my dream if I cannot make enough to live on and then have to pay off schools loans after,” said Icuitli Vargas, minimum wage worker in Lansing. “Half the apartments in Lansing average up to $800-1000 a month. Even though I am lucky enough to work full time, that would take my entire paycheck, leaving me nothing for food. I pay another $60 a month for public transportation. I work at 6am in the morning. The bus doesn’t run that early so I have to Uber 2 miles. That’s another $10 a day just to get to work. So in essence I work the first hour for free. Making $15 an hour would give me an opportunity to not only afford to get to work, but maybe even get a car, better yet, put me on a path to pursue my dream to become a chef."