ROC Michigan, Black clergy and interfaith leaders, elected officials, restaurant workers and other low-wage earners to push for federal minimum wage increase for hardworking families

July 19, 2021

Why is 7.25 an important number to remember?

On Sunday, 7/25, it is hard to ignore that the U.S. federal minimum wage has been frozen at $7.25 per hour since 2009. Yes, it has been 12 years since it was last raised $0.70 from $6.55. Since then, hardworking families—including millions of restaurant workers—have struggled to get by: Hundreds of thousands of them live in poverty, rely on public assistance, and experience discrimination and wage theft.

In Michigan, the minimum wage is currently frozen at $9.65 per hour and $3.67 per hour for tipped employees because of the state’s Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act. Workers have continued struggling to make ends meet, and this has only gotten worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Join the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) of Michigan at a virtual press conference on Friday, July 23rd, at 10:00 am EDT, to hear from restaurant workers and other low income workers, leaders from Black churches and other interfaith groups, elected officials, and community allies on why we need to raise the federal minimum wage and provide workers the living wages that they deserve.

WHAT: Press briefing on increasing the federal minimum wage 


  • Bishop J. Drew Sheard, Presiding Bishop, COGICand Pastor Greater Emmanuel Institutional COGIC
  • Dr. Wallace R. Mills, Jr.  BME State Convention President and Pastor, New  Ebenezer Baptist Church  
  • Pastor Hurley J. Coleman, Jr. World Outreach Campus Church and Saginaw African American Pastors
  • State Rep. Bill Sowerby, District 31st 
  • Kamilia Landrum, Executive Director, Detroit Branch NAACP
  • Rev. Edward Pinkney,  Pastor,  God Household of Faith, Benton Harbor
  • State Rep. Helena Scott, District 7th
  • The Reverend Reginald Brantley, United Church of Christ and ROC United Board of Directors, 
  • Nik Cole, Michigan chef


WHEN: Friday, July 23, 2021, 10:00 am EDT.

WHERE: Click to RSVP and access the ZOOM link

More about the federal minimum wage and Michigan state minimum wage:

July 23, 2021 is the 12th anniversary of when the federal minimum wage was last raised to $7.25. An increase is long overdue.

  • Since 2009, the real value of the federal minimum has eroded and is now worth $6.11 in today’s dollars.
  • Productivity and economic growth have outpaced wages. If the minimum wage had been raised at the same pace as productivity growth since the late 1960s, it would be over $20 an hour today.
  • It’s impossible to survive on $7.25 anywhere in this country. A $7.25 full-time job pays less than the federal poverty threshold.
  • In Michigan the living wage for a single adult is $13.63, well above Michigan’s $9.65 minimum wage, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator.
  • Michigan families deserve economic security. More than a third of moms in Michigan are single mothers, but the living wage for a single parent in Michigan is  $31.15 – more than three times the current minimum wage.

In Michigan, the latest findings of the 2020 State of Restaurant Workers show that:

  • Almost 59% of restaurant workers in Michigan are women, and 27.4% are people of color, populations who bear the brunt of the pandemic’s social and economic impacts.
  • Women also represent 76.4% of tipped workers and only 47.9% of the total workforce, and men are underrepresented in all restaurant positions. 
  • Nearly 32% of restaurant workers in Michigan are mothers, and of the mothers, 54.5% are single mothers. 
  • About 20% of restaurant workers are in poverty, and nearly half (45.4%) of all restaurant workers are at or under twice the poverty line. Servers and back of house workers experience similar poverty levels.
  • To compare, before the pandemic, Washington and Michigan had similar restaurant worker populations. 
  • Tracking percent change in employment since January 2020, Washington saw a 34.8% decrease in April at the height of the pandemic, and Michigan’s April employment figures were 54% lower than January. 
  • In three months (between January and March 2020), Michigan went from a restaurant workforce of nearly 400,000 to less than 200,000.

Read the 2020 State of the Restaurant Workers report here.

The press event will be moderated by Christopher White, ROC MI State Director.

Faith and Community Partners:

  1. World Outreach Campus Church (Saginaw)
  2. Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network (MUUSJN)
  3. Southeast Michigan Synod of ELCA- Advocacy Team
  4. Evangelical Baptist District Association 
  5. Michigan Faith in Action
  6. BANCO (Benton Harbor)
  7. BASS (Highland Park)
  8. Be-Moor Radio
  9. Church of GOD in Christ, Inc
  10. Chosen Kingdom Builders (Pontiac)
  11. Council of Baptist Pastors Detroit and Vicinity, Inc. 
  12. Detroit Branch NAACP
  13. Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan (EJAM)
  14. Greater Emmanuel Church of COGIC
  15. MOSES
  16. Michigan State A.Philip Randolph Institute
  17. Detroit People’s Platform
  18. Tri-City Community Development Corporation (Southwest Detroit, Ecorse and , River Rouge)
  19. Southeast Michigan Jobs with Justice
  20. Saginaw African American Pastors