$1.45M left to reach WDET’s $2 million goal.
 
Hundreds of listeners have helped secure WDET with a gift! WDET must raise the balance of $2 million by September 30. 
Make your gift today›

 

Heard on CultureShift

Michigan Restaurant Workers Make Too Little to Qualify for Emergency Funding

post thumbnail image

Image credit: Creative Commons

In the past few decades, the restaurant industry has become the fastest-growing private employer in the nation. The industry also has the lowest paying minimum wage in many states, like Michigan.

Tweet This

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended expectations and lives for Michigan’s service workers. 

In the past few decades, the restaurant industry has become the fastest-growing private sector in the nation, employing around 13 million people before the COVID-19 epidemic. The industry also has the lowest paying minimum wage in many states, including Michigan, where service industry workers make $3.67/hour without tips, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Workers “were denied [unemployment benefits] by [Michigan] because they earned too little to qualify for benefits.” — Saru Jayaraman, One Fair Wage

Saru Jayaraman leads the national advocacy non-profit One Fair Wage, which has been pushing to change the way service industry workers are paid.

When the pandemic hit, tipped workers in states like Michigan suffered even more than those in states with a higher minimum wage, Jayaraman says.

A majority of them were denied [unemployment benefits] by their states [including Michigan],” she says “because they earned too little to qualify for benefits.”

The federal CARES Act, which expires this month, was one of the few ways tipped workers were able to receive benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jayaraman says.

Click the player to hear about why now is the right time to raise wages for Michigan’s restaurant workers. 

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date

WDET is here to keep you informed on essential information, news and resources related to COVID-19.

This is a stressful, insecure time for many. So it’s more important than ever for you, our listeners and readers, who are able to donate to keep supporting WDET’s mission. Please make a gift today.


Donate today »

Amanda LeClaire, Host, CultureShift

Amanda LeClaire is host of CultureShift. She spent a few years in the southwest for Arizona Public Media.

amanda.leclaire@wdet.org Follow @amandalee_lec

Stay connected to Detroit