That idea of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour has gained traction since the election of President Joe Biden, who backed the proposal as a candidate and wants it as part of the new round of COVID relief. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. In Michigan, it’s $9.65 an hour.
“As the business grows I want this to be a place where someone can come and have as a lifetime job.” — Lisa Ludwinski, Owner of Sister Pie
Opponents of raising the minimum wage say it will hurt businesses and drive up prices for consumers. In Detroit, there are several business owners who feel differently about this debate and are among the most vocal supporters of raising the wage. Two such business owners joined demonstrators in a socially-distanced rally Monday in Detroit calling for a $15 minimum wage.
Listen: Two Detroit restaurant owners talk about why they support raising the minimum wage.
“As the business grows, I want this to be a place where someone can come and a lifetime job,” says Ludwinski. She also emphasizes that when a business shows that they care about their employees, they remain loyal. “The more we’ve been able to invest in our employees, that encourages people to stay. Most of my employees are long-term employees. I’ve got five to seven employees who have worked with me for five years or more.”
“Paying a fair wage isn’t just good for our community, it’s good for our economy. The juice is definitely worth the squeeze,” he says.
He also talks about the number of people who will end up in the restaurant industry and how their work should be valued. ”The issue isn’t the people, it’s the system. No matter how you look at it, one in three people will work within the restaurant industry. It’s important as a society to put measures in place to protect these people,” he says.