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Wages and Hours

"From 1938 until 1968, the federal minimum wage improved both in terms of unadjusted dollars and inflation adjusted dollars. The middle class expanded as both the employers and the employees benefited from improvements in technology that made working people more productive and business more profitable.

"The minimum wage, if it were adjusted for inflation from 1968 when it was $1.60 would be $11.71* today. If the wage were adjusted for productivity, it would be $21.72**. The One Fair Wage ballot proposal to increase the wage to $12.00 in 2022 is too little! The minimum wage should be at least $12.00 per hour now with a clear path $15.00 per hour in the near future."

* Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
** Source: Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).


Proposed initiated law to gradually increase the hourly minimum wage from $10.00 in 2019 to $12.00 in 2022.

Also visit the MIT Living Wage Calculator to estimate the cost of living where we live.

Proposed initiated law to create the Earned Sick Time Act, requiring employers to provide sick leave for personal or family health reasons, subject to certain conditions.

Also see House Bill 4307 (2017), a bill to require certain employers to provide paid sick leave.


Proposed initiated law to enact the Construction Workers Fair Wage Act, which would require prevailing wages and fringe benefits on state projects.

Collective Bargaining Agency Fees

See House Bill 4146 (2017) a bill to allow requirement for agency fee for nonunion members in bargaining agreements and as condition of employment in public sector. [NOTE: A recent Supreme Court ruling in the case of Janus v. AFSCME may have rendered this bill moot. See "The Supreme Court decision gutting public sector unions, explained" by Vox.]

Safe Patient Care Act

See House Bill 4629 (2017), a bill requiring hospitals to develop a safe staffing plan for nurses; House Bill 4630 (2017), a bill to prohibit mandatory overtime for nurses except under certain circumstances; and House Bill 4631 (2017), a bill requiring hospitals to maintain a record of direct care registered professional nurse-to-patient ratios for each unit for each shift.

Technology is displacing workers; is Universal Basic Income one way to deal with the problem?

One of Europe's most liberal and progressive nations, Finland, just terminated its Universal Basic Income experiment early. There is no real indication that the experiment was railing, the real problem was this, the public just hated the idea of giving people money without requiring them to work. If Finland isn't ready, Michigan isn't either. But the problem of technological job displacement is still there and it still needs a solution. What most people need is an opportunity to be useful to others and to be paid a living wage for doing the useful work.

Guaranteed Jobs at a Living Wage may be the answer?

Some very progressive economists are NOT excited by Universal Basic Income for several reasons but at the very front of the problem is this, there is work that needs to be done but the job creators just aren't willing to do pay people to do it if there isn't some profit in it for them. An old idea that is getting new attention is that the government should hire people directly to do this work and pay them a living wage with benefits.