The fight for higher wages has made its way to Detroit.
According to the Detroit Free Press, fast-food workers in the city are planning to walk away from their jobs on Monday at noon. The protest is in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. A rally is scheduled at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park at 12:15, alongside a march and a demonstration at a McDonald’s.
Activists are referencing the Civil Rights movement to back their current campaign. Monday’s actions will come 50 years after the Memphis sanitation strike.
“We’re going to send a message to corporations and politicians that their time of rigging the economy against workers is over,” said Rev. W.J. Rideout. Rideout is among the local organizers of the protest. “We have to stand up and fight back.”
Justin Winslow, Michigan Restaurant Association President and CEO, gave the following statement:
The restaurant industry is proud to be the industry of first opportunities and for some, second chances. We are proud of the fact that 1 in 3 Americans have the restaurant industry to thank for their first job and that half of all adults have worked in the industry at some point in their lives. These protests, well intentioned as they may be, only serve to limit these opportunities for the very people they are claiming to help. We now have strong, unbiased evidence from a University of Washington study in 2017 that Seattle’s recent push for a $15 minimum wage unequivocally resulted in disemployment, unemployment and an aggregate loss of payroll for entry-level workers in the city. In other words, while the $15 mandate helped a few people a little bit, it hurt many others by being scheduled for fewer shifts or actual job loss.
Michigan Live reported in December 2017 that the minimum wage was set to increase from $8.90 to $9.25. The changes went into effect in January.
“Any future adjustments after January 2018 shall not exceed 3.5 percent and will be established by the State Treasurer based on the unemployment rate and the Consumer Price Index,” the state explained, months prior to the organization of Monday’s strike.
Whether or not the fight is successful, workers have seen at least one positive change in their paychecks this year. Many across the country have seen increases in their paychecks since the passing of the Republican-backed tax law earlier in the year. According to the IRS, the new tax law meant that about 90 percent of employees would see larger paychecks at the beginning of February.