Signatures for 2024 ballot measure to raise Michigan wages delivered

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 10:03 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 26, 2022 at 6:17 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - One Fair Wage advocates delivered more than 610,000 signatures Tuesday morning for the 2024 ballot measure to raise wages to $15 per hour for one million workers in Michigan.

The measure aims to phase out the subminimum wage for tipped workers, workers with disabilities, and youth.

It was a big day for those like Maricella Gutierrez, with One Fair Wage. She was there when they carried more than 100 boxes to the Secretary Of State’s Office in Lansing.

“The cost of everything is increasing and people are really struggling in this moment. They’ve been struggling,” Gutierrez said. “They’ve been stuck at $9 for a long time, so we really need $15 right now.”

She said people couldn’t afford basic needs and raising pay would help. Some businesses already have raised their pay to help employees make ends meet.

Ali Kasti, who owns Sahara Delight Restaurant in downtown Lansing, came to the United States to escape conflict in Lebanon. He calls the United States his home now and enjoys serving the community, but it’s getting pricey here. Kasti said minimum wage doesn’t cut it for most people.

He raised his pay to at least $15 per hour and he wants to see other businesses do the same.

However, Alexa Kramer, with the Small Business Association of Michigan, said she thinks this would hurt businesses already struggling from the pandemic.

“We’re seeing higher costs from every which angle and this initiative is just another thing to make it difficult to own and operate a small business in Michigan,” Kramer said.

Kramer told News 10, that in a recent survey conducted by the SBAM, 70% of their members have already increased their wages to meet demand. Those decisions were internal, and Kramer said it should stay that way.

“Anything to do with employers or employees should be left up to those two parties and government shouldn’t be the ones to dictate wage and benefits,” Kramer said.

However, if it does end up on the ballot, Kasti said he knows what his vote will be.

“Yes, I will be voting yes to raise up the minimum wage.”

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