Celebrities join Michigan rally for hike in state’s minimum wage - WNEM TV 5

Celebrities join Michigan rally for hike in state’s minimum wage

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Source: CNN Source: CNN
MICHIGAN, (WNEM) -

Rallies are planned across the state this week as thousands protest for a higher minimum wage in Michigan, and they’re getting some celebrity support.

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, the stars of Netflix’s Grace and Frankie are in Michigan this week backing a ballot campaign to eliminate the two-tiered minimum wage system for tipped employees.

"I think that's more than fair with the way everything is right now,” Dakotta Clark said.

Clark is thrilled to hear about an effort to raise the state's minimum wage to $12 an hour. It's called the One Fair Wage ballot drive.

The measure, if approved, would gradually raise what's now an $8.90 hourly minimum wage to $12 in 2022. The lower minimum wage for tipped employees would eventually equal the regular minimum wage, too.

“I'm at a factory driving a forklift. I think I need more than $9.90 an hour,” Clark said.

The minimum wage in Michigan is $8.90 per hour. In January, that figure will rise to $9.25 per hour.

Is that enough? Well, it depends who you ask.

"Every time they arbitrarily bump the minimum wage up people at the beginning end lose their job or lose hours. So, they're not ahead,” one person said.

"We deserve it. More than that. Twelve dollars isn't going to bring you up to standards with what's going on right now,” another resident said.

"I think the minimum wage should be higher but not that big of a jump the first step,” said another resident.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce is sounding off about the ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage.

In a statement, the department said it opposes any further increase to the state's minimum wage.

The Michigan Chamber opposes any further increase in the state’s minimum wage, especially given that the state’s minimum wage was increased in September of 2014 and the wage is set to increase again in January of 2018. If Michigan were to further increase its minimum wage, it would result in our state having one of the highest minimum wage rates in the country, thereby making Michigan uncompetitive in the race for jobs. Michigan already has the highest minimum wage in the region, outpacing Indiana ($7.25), Illinois ($8.25), Ohio ($8.15) and Wisconsin ($7.25).

However, Clark said that hourly rate isn't high enough. He hopes to see $12 an hour in his paycheck sooner than later.

“That would mean a better life for my daughter and my family so I would definitely want that,” he said.

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin will hold public events at Kalamazoo College, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan.

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