JOIN THE FIGHT
With a global pandemic still ravaging families, communities and the economy, bad policy is putting the health of all Michiganders and our loved ones at risk; and a growing number of people are in economically precarious circumstances. Attorney General Nessel must take immediate action to enact paid sick leave and an increased minimum wage, and by doing so deliver justice to people for whom justice has been too long delayed.
To: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel
Dear Attorney General Nessel,
Thank you for the leadership you’ve shown during this pandemic. And thank you to your staff members reading this for all the work you’re putting in right now. We, the undersigned individuals, organizations and legislators respectfully request that you implement a solution which will sustain millions of Michigan workers through the duration of this, and future, public health issues and economic downturns. As previously requested by Senator Chang, we urge you to take action regarding Michigan Time To Care (PA 338) and raising the minimum wage (PA 337).
In the wake of the global pandemic, President Biden has encouraged us to Build Back Better. To rebuild, Michigan families and workers need to be able to take paid time off when sick. Withholding paid sick time under normal circumstances is bad policy; during a pandemic it’s a public health disaster. Tipped and untipped workers need to earn at least twelve dollars per hour. The American Rescue Package is giving $28.6 billion of targeted relief to independent restaurant operators to help them take the next step in recovery. It’s time for workers to take the next step too. Michigan could be at the forefront of advancing equitable wages for people risking their lives during a pandemic working low wage frontline jobs.
In May of 2018 Michigan Time To Care (MTTC) and the MOFW ballot committee each filed proposals setting forth that workers would accrue one hour of paid sick time for every thirty hours worked, and to raise the Michigan minimum wage to twelve dollars per hour for all workers including those making the sub-minimum tipped wage. Instead, the Republican legislature engaged in the devious tactic now known as Adopt and Amend -- adopting ballot measures with the express intent of muting democratic participation and gutting the laws.
Despite polls showing that over 70% of Michigan voters support earned paid sick time and raising the minimum wage, Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation enacting anemic, hollow versions of these proposals into law. This action left 1.7 million people, or half the Michigan workforce, without access to paid sick time during a global pandemic. In Michigan 33.2% of workers make less than $12/hr and 45.8% make less than $15/hr. Tipped workers in Michigan make $3.67 and many who are laid off due to the pandemic have not been eligible for unemployment protections. By 2022 this will result in $10,358 in stolen wages from the average full-time worker. Even the paltry minimum wage increase scheduled for January 1st, 2021 did not go into effect because the amended law prevents raises if there are high unemployment numbers.
As Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson aptly noted, “Both the Michigan Constitution and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protect Michigan citizens’ right to amend our laws or state constitution through direct citizen petitions.” Adopt and Amend sets the alarming precedent of blocking Michigan citizens from engaging in the democratic process, regardless of their purpose or which party is in power.
If enacted as they were originally written and adopted into law, this legislation will help alleviate poverty and allow workers who are ill to stay home, thus preventing the spread of infectious diseases such as Covid-19. If you opt to passively allow these inequitable and unconstitutional practices to stand, the legal avenue for citizens to enact laws through popular initiatives may be blocked on any issue. Further, the legislature acted on behalf of special interests who publicly celebrated their intent to obstruct Michigan voters from engaging in the democratic process, dangerously undermining voting rights.
You have the power to rectify the situation with the stroke of your pen. Please take immediate action to enact paid sick leave and increase the minimum wage. Deliver justice to people for whom justice has been long delayed.
[List of Signers]
Recent Organizational Signers
Mothering Justice is dedicated to returning decision making power to the ones affected by these decisions the most. By empowering mothers to influence policy on behalf of themselves and their families, Mothering Justice hopes to change the future of families in Michigan for the better.
Michigan Unitarian Universalist
Social Justice Network
Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network (MUUSJN) is a state-wide network of Unitarian Universalists and allies who work together for progressive change. Their mission is to foster the worth and dignity of people by promoting social justice.
482Forward is a citywide education organizing network in Detroit. They are committed to ensuring that all Detroit children have access to an excellent education, regardless of their race or socioeconomic status. Together, they are building power to make systemic change and win educational justice for their communities.
Oakland Forward’s mission is to build power to remove economic, racial and social barriers to provide opportunities for individuals, with a focus on people of color, in Oakland County. Their goal is to expand, strengthen and empower communities to make long-term change that improves the quality of life for those most affected.
Black Women's Round Table
The Black Women’s Roundtable serves as the NCBCP’s intergenerational leadership development, mentoring, empowerment and power building arm for Black women and girls. The BWR is at the forefront of championing justice and equitable public policies that center racial, economic and gender justice to promote health and wellness, economic security & prosperity, education and global empowerment as key elements of success.
Temple Kol Ami
Temple Kol Ami is one of America’s most engaged and inventive Reform Jewish congregations. Located in West Bloomfield, Michigan, they are a participatory community where members actively shape their relationship to Judaism. Temple Kol Ami welcomes Jewish families and singles, interfaith families, Jews by Choice, and the LGBTQ community from all over the Metro Detroit and surrounding areas.
Fems for Democracy
In 2016, the founder of Fems for Democracy, Lori Goldman, found herself swearing at the TV and feeling frustrated at what she saw happening around her. She decided it was past time to take action, and Fems was born. Her initial meeting consisted of a handful of people sitting around her kitchen table. Who knew so many other women were feeling the same way? They are now over 12,000 strong and growing! They encourage women and allies to find their voices and develop their personal power.
Care In Action
Care in Action is a nonprofit group dedicated to fighting for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women. Care in Action is backed by tens of thousands of nannies, house cleaners, and care workers across the country. They provide the tools, trainings, and community working families need to make their voices heard, and organize and advocate for respect, recognition, and inclusion in labor protections.
Indivisible Huron Valley
Founded in February 2017, this group of people from all political backgrounds joined together to advocate, educate, engage, and promote our shared values. They meet monthly and also participate in a variety of action-oriented events with the purpose of fulfilling their mission to protect and defend our democracy.
We are SEIU Healthcare Michigan, an organization of healthcare workers, united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and services they provide. We are dedicated to improving the lives of our members, their families, and the people they care for and to creating a more just and humane society.
We are healthcare workers who work to build a strong union to empower ourselves and to protect the people we serve.
Oakland Macomb NOW
NOW chapters focus on six priority issues including reproductive rights, ending sex discrimination/constitutional equality, promoting diversity and ending racism, economic justice, stopping violence against women, and LGBTQIA rights. Our chapter welcomes new members to help fight for women’s rights on the local and national level.