Saturday, September 24, 2022

Play

The health-care subsidy extension a relief for small businesses; Consumer groups press for a bill to reform credit reporting; and an international group aims to transform how people view peace and conflict.

Play

Condemnation of Russian war on Ukraine continues at the U.N, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says there's need for worker training to rebuild Puerto Rico, the House takes on record corporate profits while consumers struggle with inflation.

Play

The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts two winters across the U.S., the Inflation Reduction Act could level the playing field for rural electric co-ops, and pharmacies are dwindling in rural America.

Michigan Workers Win Minimum-Wage Increase, Paid Sick Leave

Play

Thursday, August 18, 2022   

Workers in Michigan won major victories recently as a minimum-wage increase and employer paid sick time program were reinstated by court order.

In 2018, petitioners succeeded in placing a minimum-wage increase along with an earned-sick-time provision on the November ballot. In turn, the Michigan Legislature passed the measures in September to avoid a vote on the referendums, then in a lame-duck session in December the Legislature amended the bills, delaying the wage increase and denying the full hourly rate to tipped workers. The sick-time provision also was changed.

Last month, a Michigan Court of Claims judge ruled amending the original bills was a violation of the state constitution, and the $12 minimum wage will now be instituted in February.

Alicia Renee Farris, chief operations officer of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, helped organize the ballot initiative and is calling it a victory for Michigan workers.

"This is really a victory for 685,000 Michiganders that do not make $12 an hour," Farris asserted. "We see that as very important particularly for low-wage restaurant workers."

The minimum wage for tipped employees is set to gradually increase to $12 per hour by 2024.

After Judge Douglas Shapiro declared the adopt-and-amend legislative maneuver unconstitutional, the State of Michigan asked for a stay pending appeal. Shapiro denied the request but did delay implementation until Feb. 19.

Mark Brewer, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the delay is due to the scale of the coming changes.

"This is a massive change. The paid sick time affects every employer in the state," Brewer pointed out. "Minimum wage obviously affects many employers and hundreds of thousands of employees, so the court said, 'Look, you can have a few months to make a transition here to fully implement these laws.' "

Litigation over the matter has not ended with the Court of Claims ruling, since the state of Michigan will next take its case to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Brewer noted the appeals court has agreed to speed things up.

"We did get some good news in just the last 24 hours," Brewer emphasized. "The court of appeals has agreed to expedite our appeal, and so we're hopeful to have oral argument in the court of appeals this fall, which would mean a decision early next year."

Upon implementation, the minimum wage will be indexed to inflation with adjustments made annually so long as the state unemployment rate remains below 8.5%.

Disclosure: Restaurant Opportunities Center United contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Nonprofit organizations employed nearly 30,000 Montanans in 2019. (Artur/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The work of some nonprofit organizations has only increased with the pandemic and the needs that have come from it. An author and expert in the field …


Social Issues

By Lourdes Medrano for Yes! Media. Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Arizona News Connection, reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …

Social Issues

Hispanic Heritage Month began in mid-September and runs through Oct. 15, and a financial institution in Washington state is finding unique ways to …


Fans of solitude say the route density in Labyrinth Canyon can make it difficult to escape the noise of motorized vehicles. (Bureau of Land Management)

Environment

Conservation groups say more needs to be done to protect the natural and cultural resources of Utah's Labyrinth Canyon from off-road vehicles…

Social Issues

Despite being aimed at children in kindergarten through third grade, Florida teachers say what's often referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" law has …

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., says she plans to call a legislative hearing on the practices of credit reporting agencies. (Kalafoto/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Consumer groups are pressing for legislation to reform the way credit agencies handle errors on credit reports. The calls to amend the Fair Credit …

Environment

A relatively small number of so-called "super emitters" are responsible for 40% of the methane emissions in oil and gas hotspots such as California's …

Social Issues

As "Banned Books Week" comes to a close, Connecticut libraries have been celebrating with great fervor - despite numerous book bans and challenges…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021