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Campaign to hike minimum wage to $12 turns in petitions


A question to boost Michigan’s minimum wage to $12 an hour could be headed to the November ballot. A petition drive says it’s gathered enough signatures to force the Legislature to adopt the initiative, or it goes to voters.

Michigan’s minimum wage rose to $9.25 an hour in January.

Campaign chair Alicia Farris says the initiative will not only increase the minimum wage again, it will also end the lower minimum wage for workers who earn tips.

“We talk about how our cities are suffering, our communities are suffering," Farris said. "That happens because our people are suffering. We’re really talking about working people, people who go to work every day and still can’t meet their basic needs.”

Tracy Pease is a server who says women who work for tips are more likely to face sexual harassment on the job.

“What other place would you go to work, and have management or the people say, 'Hey, why don’t you wear a skimpier top, or tighter jeans?'” she said.    

Once the signatures are certified, the Legislature has 40 days to adopt the initiative, or it goes to voters in November. House and Senate leaders had no immediate reaction, but Republicans oppose increasing the minimum wage. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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