Court of appeals to decide Michigan’s minimum wage increase

Expect a decision from the Michigan Court of Appeals before February

A Court of Appeals panel is expected to decide before February whether the Michigan Legislature overstepped its authority when it adopted a petition aimed at boosting the minimum wage in Michigan but changed the language.

That petition originally called for raising the minimum wage in Michigan to $13.03 an hour, and the tipped minimum wage to $11.73 an hour by February 2023. The legislature scaled that back to $12.05 by 2030 and kept the tipped minimum wage as is.

The group Mothering Justice is fighting to have the original language take effect.

“We’re just happy that we had our day in court today and pleased they were able to sit and talk with us and understand our side,” said Aisha Wells.

Read: Metro Detroit groups’ proposal for paid sick time has made its way to the Michigan Court of Appeals

Advocacy groups for the restaurant industry say those immediate changes would be a crusher. The legislature argues it does have the authority.

Some tipped workers worry that if the changes take place immediately, it will kill their tip income, which currently generates more than $11.73 an hour.

“I can work at the bar at night,” said Gabbie Huhn. “It’s how I pay for my car, rent, groceries, all those things.”

Huhn is in school to be a physician assistant. School and clinic hours take up her day, and her bartending job at night pays the bills. She worries those tips will dry up, which are double if not more than the tipped minimum wage increase.

“I personally would have to completely change my career path and educational plan I’ve had for years because I wouldn’t be making enough,” Huhn said.

Expect a decision from the Michigan Court of Appeals before February but don’t be surprised if it ultimately goes to the Michigan Supreme Court.

About the Authors:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.