Governor Snyder signed legislation Tuesday night to raise the state minimum wage. The law boosts wages gradually, and tipped workers will still make 60 percent less than whatever the minimum wage is for other workers. Right now tipped workers make $2.65 an hour. Under the new law they'll move up to about $3.50 an hour four years from now.
There is also a petition drive looking to put minimum wage legislation on the ballot. That proposal would raise the minimum wage to around $10.00 an hour for all workers, including tipped workers. The new law replaced the old public act the ballot measure would change, which may make the effort pointless. Organizers of the petition drive say they may go to court over the maneuver.
The majority of tipped workers are women. I took the State of Opportunity story booth to a recent gathering of women talking about economic security. The first woman to walk in to the room was Denise Gleich. She's 49 and a native Detroiter.
Gleich has been in the restaurant industry for 30 years, often relying on tips. She raised three daughters on that money, but as she gets older and the economy changes, things are getting tougher. All of her daughters work in the restaurant industry, but she wishes they didn't.
Gleich is now back in school, working towards a bachelor's degree. She hopes to become a substance abuse counselor and says she's getting a lot of help from a program for non-traditional students. Here's her story.