Jul 21, 2022 - News

Minimum wage to increase if court decision holds

Michigan Capitol in Lansing

Michigan Capitol in Lansing. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

Michigan workers will see higher wages and enhanced paid sick leave if a major court decision stands.

  • Minimum wage would rise from $9.87 to $12, adjusted to inflation each year, while tipped worker wages would increase from $3.75 to $9.60.

Driving the news: The Republican-controlled Legislature in 2018 gutted a citizens-led ballot initiative to raise minimum wage and guarantee paid sick leave by using "adopt-and-amend." The tactic prevents initiatives from becoming law without allowing residents to vote on it.

  • On Tuesday, a Michigan court ruled the tactic unconstitutional, arguing initiatives can't be amended within the same legislative session. That means the two original proposals are now "in effect."

What they're saying: The ruling is a victory for workers "and for all Michigan residents whose constitutional right to initiative has been protected by the court from being gutted by the Legislature," Mark Brewer, who represents the 2018 One Fair Wage ballot group, said in a statement.

  • "The actions undertaken by the legislature in 2018 denied the will of the people and distorted the purpose of Michigan’s citizens initiative process," Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement.

The other side: The ruling would bring "catastrophic" effects to restaurant owners, says Justin Winslow, president of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association,

  • "A lot of restaurants are not profitable right now because of inflation," Winslow tells Axios.

What's next: Workers shouldn't expect to see larger paychecks immediately.

  • Winslow says a motion to stay the decision will be filed, while a higher court could also stop the ruling, which can't go into effect for at least 21 days.

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