Long before President Barack Obama visited campus last week, activists were laying the groundwork for a proposed increase in the minimum wage.

A coalition of groups collectively called Raise Michigan announced plans Jan. 27 to put a question to raise the minimum wage on November’s ballot, launching a campaign which started as an exploratory ballot committee and eventually became an organized force across the state, including at the University.

To put the proposal on the ballot, the group will have to collect a minimum of 258,088 signatures, which is equal to 8 percent of the voters in the last gubernatorial election, from across the state before May 28. Coalition leaders have indicated that they want to go above that threshold, with an ultimate goal of 350,000 signatures.

Should the group collect enough signatures, the proposal will then go before the state legislature, which has 40 days to approve it. Evan if they don’t approve it outright and make it into a law, the initiative will go on the ballot.

Engineering senior Ryan Moody and LSA junior Eleni Kastanis, who are gathering signatures in the Ann Arbor area as interns for Michigan United, one of the groups in the Raise Michigan coalition, said the coalition’s goal for the area is 10,000 signatures. Moody, who coordinates on campus efforts, said her hope is that 6,500 of those signatures will come from the University community.

The pair currently has over 1,500 signatures from the area, though exact numbers are difficult to discern because the petitions are disseminated so widely. Around 500 of those have come from campus.

Moody said they are confident they will reach their goal, especially in the wake of Obama’s visit, though they are currently behind where they’d like to be.

“It’s like something rolling down a hill; at first, it’s a little bit harder, just because nobody really knows or cares,” Moody said. “Now that people are starting to hear more about it, I truly believe it’s picking up momentum. I don’t think it’ll be hard to overcome the small deficit we have now.”

Running parallel to Raise Michigan’s efforts is a bill in the state House which has been stalled in committee since 2013. The bill includes a proposed increase of the minimum wage to nine dollars. Michigan’s minimum wage is currently $7.50 per hour- 15 cents above the Federal minimum.

Raise Michigan’s ballot initiative first proposed an increase to nine dollars but is now pushing for an increase to $10.10, in line with President Obama’s national push for a federal increase to $10.10.

State Rep. Adam Zemke (D–Ann Arbor), one of the co-sponsors of the legislation, said he doesn’t see the bill moving forward in the near future due to opposition from House Speaker Jase Bolger (R–Grand Rapids) and other Republican legislative and executive leadership. He said the initiative is a welcome addition to the overall campaign to raise the minimum wage.

“I think that running things in tandem, both on ballot measures and through legislative processes, is always a wise idea to account for things like issues getting stalled in the legislature,” Zemke said.

Along with opposition in the legislature, the measure also has not proven to be popular among business groups in the state.

Michael Marzano, Small Business Association of Michigan Grassroots coordinator and policy adviser, said many of his 22,000 plus members are not happy about the proposed wage change.

“If it goes up to $10.10, we look at it like this; if you’re only able to pay employees 15 dollars an hour for a wage, and you have to choose between hiring two people an hour at the current minimum wage versus hiring one person at $10.10, it’s going to decrease their output and not enable them to invest in more technology and more workers to increase their productivity,” Marzano said.

Several other groups, including the Michigan Restaurant Association, have also raised concerns about a decrease in productivity.

On campus and in the greater Ann Arbor area, Moody and Kastanis said they’ve mostly received positive reactions to the initiative.

According to Kastanis, though University students may not have the experience of being a minimum wage worker firsthand, many still find a connection to the issue.

“There are a lot of people who know people; they have family members, friends, that have gone through this, “ Kastanis said. “This affects everyone — your neighbors, your friends, your community, the campus overall. It’s literally an issue about everyone, even if it doesn’t affect you personally.”

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