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 more than 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.
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.