May 19, 2014

Sierra Club Endorses Minimum Wage Proposal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                More information:
Monday, May 19, 2014                                                           David Holtz
                                                                                                      313-300-4454

Sierra Club Endorses Minimum Wage Proposal
Citizens Group Says Senate Bill A Step Forward, But More Is Needed

LANSING—As the minimum wage debate in Michigan’s Legislature heats up, Sierra Club announced today it has endorsed Raise Michigan’s ballot initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

“Good jobs with better wages give workers and their families the resources they need to succeed and engage in the communities where they live,” said Lydia Fischer, Sierra Club’s Conservation Co-Chair in Michigan.   “Poverty is a barrier to environmental cleanup in many local communities throughout Michigan.  Raising the minimum wage helps make environmental activism more accessible to people who live in communities where asthma, cancer and other public health hazards are everyday concerns.  

The Club endorsement of the Raise Michigan proposal by its 17-member state Executive Committee comes as the state House considers a Senate bill that would raise the minimum wage to $9.20 an hour by 2017.  

The bipartisan Senate bill is an important step in the right direction, but should be improved by House lawmakers, said David Holtz, Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter Chair.   Holtz said House lawmakers should increase the minimum wage rate to $10.10 an hour and remove barriers to democracy in the Senate bill that would keep voters from having the option of enacting the Raise Michigan proposal.  The Republican-sponsored Senate bill includes a repeal of the current minimum wage law, the effect of which would be to kill the Raise Michigan ballot proposal. 

“The Senate’s bipartisan proposed minimum wage increase is significant and would never have happened if it weren't for citizens putting pressure on lawmakers to act," said Holtz.  “The proposed legislation, however, still falls short of what workers really need.  The fact that Senate Republicans authored a legislative trick to disenfranchise voters is politics at its worst and this provision should be rejected by the House.”

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Sierra Club is a volunteer-led environmental organization with 160,000 members and supporters in Michigan.