Workers say Michigan's minimum wage increase still not enough

Terrence Collins leaves his job at Wendy’s to head to his second job at Dollar Tree. He’s grateful for the 40 cents increase in Michigan’s minimum wage, but he says it’s far from enough to support his family.

“You got to have two jobs to survive out here. One job is not going to do it. Even if they gave you $10, that’s still isn’t going to make it happen.”

“This is just slave wages. That’s all it is,” said Pastor W.J. Rideout, III.

Rideout has been leading the fight for $15 an hour, protesting outside fast food restaurants.

As of January 1st, Michigan’s minimum wage rose from $8.50 to $8.90 an hour for full-time workers. That’s $16 more per week, or $832 a year.

It’s an increase in the minimum wage, but it’s still not even $10 an hour. So activists say the fight for $15 will continue.

“At the rate that minimum wage is right now, people cannot survive on that amount. They can’t afford to pay their basic bills – phone, gas, lights,” said Rideout.

Over at National Coney Island at 7 Mile and Mack, General Manager Sammie Algohaim says they pay above minimum wage.

“You have to take care of your employees, because without your employees you won’t be here.”

Many businesses worry they’d go out of business if the minimum wage went much higher – along with the price of their products.

Michael Venditti has owned the Papa John’s on Mack for two years. “That’s not going to make a huge impact, but if it goes up to $9, $10, $12, $15 – that’s going to make a huge impact.”

The next minimum wage increase in Michigan is scheduled for 2018 – to $9.25 an hour.

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