Democratic senators fighting to raise minimum wage

LANSING — Sen. Erika Geiss (D–Taylor) and Sen. Betty Jean Alexander (D–Detroit) today joined other lawmakers at a press conference to announce legislation that would provide a livable wage to minimum wage workers after Republicans gutted the minimum wage increases in December.

The senators were joined by House Democratic Leader Christine Greig (D–Farmington Hills), Rep. Bill Sowerby (D–Clinton Township), Alicia Farris from One Fair Wage, Antonieus Gregory, a restaurant worker from Romulus, and Nickie Gaston, a homecare worker from Redford.

“Michigan’s minimum wage workers deserve a livable wage that allows them to live with dignity because to have policy in place that dictates otherwise is the epitome of economic injustice,” Sen. Geiss said. “Michigan families work hard, and they should never be faced with having to choose between feeding their kids or paying their bills because a job refuses to acknowledge their value.”

Senate Bill 168 and House Bill 4299 would amend Public Act 368 of 2018 to reinstate the minimum wage increase in the original ballot initiative, which increased minimum wage to $12 by 2022.

“As a working mom who has spent a lifetime getting by on close to minimum wage jobs, I know how critical it is that we ensure people are making a livable, sustainable, fair wage,” Sen. Alexander said. “We live in one of the richest countries in the world. If we can’t at least pay people a living wage, then we need to reevaluate how our society functions.”

With the changes made in last-year’s lame-duck session, minimum wage workers stand to lose out on nearly $1,200 in wages in 2019 alone. By the end of 2022 — when the wage was originally supposed to reach $12 under the ballot initiative — families will have lost out on nearly $10,300 in wages.

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