Traverse City Record-Eagle

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June 27, 2014

Minimum wage hike could have big consequences in Michigan

Gov. Rick Snyder and Lansing’s lawmakers recently made the decision to hike Michigan’s minimum wage.

Snyder signed the legislation last week to raise the state’s minimum wage by 25 percent gradually over the next four years, with the goal of reaching $9.25 an hour.

Reports out of Lansing say Republicans — who control the state government — made the move to prevent a November ballot measure that could have increased the minimum wage even more.

While on the surface this might seem like a win for Michigan’s workers, we have concerns with its prospects. Who’s to say this might lead to more automation?

Walk into any Meijer store and the “Did you find everything you’re looking for?” from a friendly cashier has been replaced with a touchscreen.

Those friendly baggers who used to pack your groceries and carry them out to your car? They’ve been replaced by a carousel system of sterile plastic bags.

Part-time labor for teens and young adults is slowly getting shoved to the side. With grocers and other retailers forced to pay more for their employees, who’s to say this won’t become more common?

And what happens to the small mom-and-pop restaurants that exist in Michigan that are already fighting to stay afloat? A minimum wage increase could cut into these places’ profits, which could cause layoffs and even closures. Those are in addition to the possible increases in the price of food and other goods just to keep up with the increase in employees’ pay.

While the law has already been signed, we can only hope the effects aren’t too extreme and a move to benefit our state’s laborers ends up causing more harm than good.

Grand Haven Tribune

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