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Minimum wage to increase Jan. 1, some say it is not enough

At the start of the new year, workers making minimum wage will see a 22 cents an hour increase.

MICHIGAN, USA — Michigan's minimum wage will increase to $9.87 on Jan. 1, 2022. 

This is part of Michigan's Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, enacted in 2018, which establishes an annual schedule and fee increase. 

This increase is 22 cents more than the current minimum wage of $9.65 an hour. Tipped employees will also see an increase to $3.75 an hour plus tips. 

RELATED: Michigan hourly minimum wage will rise 22 cents to $9.87

Tuesday, Raise the Wage Michigan Ballot Committee launched a new ballot measure, to increase the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

Chantal Watkins, the treasurer of the ballot initiative and lead organizer for One Fair Wage Michigan, called the increase set to take effect on Jan. 1 "a joke." 

"It's a slap in the face," said Watkins, "For people who, when no other industry was open, these restaurant workers and retail workers, when you had to go get medicine and go buy your at home tests at CVS, those were the people working. When you needed Door Dashers and carry out people, those were the people working. So, I think that it's horrible."

The ballot measure would increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2027. It is a similar ballot measure to one in 2018. Then, the measure was "adopted and amended" by the then-republican-controlled legislature. Instead of raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2022, wages would reach that level by 2030. Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel have previously spoken out against the move. 

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"They adopted it, then they amended it and gutted it, which is unconstitutional," said Watkins, "So, it's time for us to actually make it to the ballot. Actually make it to the voters. Because it's not fair that our legislators took something that that people actually want."

According to a living wage calculator by MIT, in greater Grand Rapids area, a livable wage for a single person is $14.09. This is more than $4 less than the increase to take effect in 2022. 

"The average rent in Michigan is $750," said Watkins, "If you're making $9.65, you have to work over 100 hours that month in order to pay your rent."

One common criticism of raising minimum wage is encouraging people who work for that rate to find better paying jobs. However, One Fair Wage Michigan finds that is exactly what people are doing. Thus, leading to many worker shortages at all industries across the U.S. 

"This [raising the minimum wage] will definitely help stimulate Michigan's economy," said Watkins. 

RELATED VIDEO: Local restaurants increase the minimum wage for employees

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