Court Rules in Favor of Increasing Minimum Wage – Even for Tipped Workers (MI Time to Care Coalition, July 26, 2022)
The MI Time to Care coalition has led a successful fight in court last Tuesday, restoring the ability of every Michigan worker to earn paid sick time and raising the minimum wage for tipped and untipped workers.
Court of Claims Judge Douglas Shapiro ruled that the “adopt and amend” tactic was unconstitutional, reinstating the 2018 ballot initiatives that would allow workers to earn up to 40 hours per year of paid sick time if they work at a business with 10 or fewer employees, while workers at larger businesses can earn up to 72 hours of paid sick time annually.
In addition, if the ruling stands, the minimum wage in Michigan would increase to $12 an hour from $9.87, eliminating the subminimum tipped wage of $3.75 an hour. Therefore, tipped workers would also earn the same minimum wage with tips on top.
The MI Time to Care coalition partners – Mothering Justice, Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, CARE In Action, MI Economic Justice, Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, For Our Future MI Action, Detroit Action, United Way, Blue Green Alliance, Oakland Forward, SIX, Detroit Disability Power, One fair Wage Ballot Steering Committee and the Arc of Michigan – issued the following statements regarding the ruling:
“In 2018 our organization stood shoulder-to-shoulder with others in the fight to get earned paid sick time on the Michigan ballot,” said Eboni Taylor, Michigan Executive Director for Mothering Justice. “The Republican-controlled Legislature took up our proposal only to cut more than half of Michigan workers out of the deal. It was wrong then, which is why we took the issue to court and this ruling is a testament to the hard work of advocates all those years.”
Tia Marie Sanders of the Tia Marie Sanders Foundation, Plaintiff, applauded the court’s decision: “Workers shouldn’t be forced to miss a paycheck just because they are too sick to work. This is about basic human dignity and ensuring that when you are sick, or someone you care for is sick, you can stay home and focus on healing. The court sided with humanity today.”
“This is certainly a day to remember — a complete victory for restaurant workers and all residents of Michigan for their efforts to restore the will of the people. We were wrongly circumvented by a Legislature that was supposed to protect us and prioritize the welfare of workers, and instead suppressed the voices of over 400,000 Michigan residents who signed a petition to increase the minimum wage commencing January 1, 2019. The original proposal would have completely phased out the subminimum wage by January 1, 2024,” said Dr. Alicia Renee Farris, acting CEO of ROC United and Chair of Michigan One Fair Wage Ballot Steering Committee. “For Michigan Time to Care coalition members and allies, who have not given up a single day to build power among workers — we owe you a debt of gratitude. Thank you for protecting the integrity of our democracy. You have made history and created a movement for change.”
James Hawk, a former restaurant worker who was also one of the plaintiffs in the case, said: “All Michigan workers should be treated with respect and dignity. When someone is sick, they should be able to stay home to get better and not put other people at risk. While this all unfolded before the COVID-19 pandemic, clearly earned paid sick time is necessary for all Michigan workers and I am proud to see the judge side with us at this moment.