GOP lawmakers play Scrooge on minimum wage

It’s St. Nicholas Day and the Republicans in Lansing just outdid the Grinch and Scrooge with their unconstitutional passage of Senate Bill 1171, amending the 2018 Public Act 237, the so-called “Improved Workplace Opportunity Act, passed on Dec. 4 by a vote of 60-48, with our own state Rep. Beau LaFave voting yes. Beau, who is more than happy to take $71,000 a year as representative, voted to pass a law that, as Rep. Jon Hoadley said, “delays a modest hourly wage increase to $12 for over a decade and then freezes that wage indefinitely. Perhaps more galling, it actually cuts the real wages that tipped workers receive over the life of the legislation when compared to current law.”

So if you are a low-wage worker, toughing it out in a retail job, barely making ends meet, needing to go to St. Vinny’s or the Salvation Army for food, having to use SNAP food stamps, thank Beau and his Republican buddies for making your life tougher. If you are a waitress, a tipped employee, you’ll have less, thanks to those legislators in Lansing who did the bidding of the Chamber of Commerce and also took the trouble to pass SB 1175, The Michigan Time to Care Act, which whittles down employee rights to paid sick leave. Bob Cratchit can’t take time from Scrooge’s business to take care of Tiny Tim without losing his scant wages.

We can only hope that outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder does the right thing and fails to sign those bills that would make life more difficult for the many waitresses, food service workers, retail clerks and working people who are barely hanging on as it is.

The workers in the U.P. need a minimum wage and sick leave that lets them have dignity and warmth in this Christmas season. Beau LaFave and his Republican buddies should be getting coal in their stockings for their “naughty behavior” that delays needed minimum wage increases and stymies sick leave.