Battling over wages

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:29 PM

Workman makes $7.75 an hour as a cashier at Orchard Market in Spring Lake. That's 35 cents an hour above Michigan's $7.40 minimum wage, and 50 cents more than the federal mandate of $7.25.

Pennies aside, it's still a struggle, Workman said.

“Being post-grad at Michigan State University, I have $600-a-month student loan payments,” said Workman, 23.

The Fruitport woman said a bill introduced recently in Lansing that would raise the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour over the span of three years would be “extremely significant” in her budgeting.

“That would really help a lot,” Workman said.

Orchard Market Director of Operations Alex Rogalla said he'll be closely watching the proposed state legislation, which he said could have far-reaching effects in the business world.

“There have been minimum wage increases over the years and they're needed because of the cost of living, but you should do it in moderation,” he said. “That's not moderation.”

Michigan's minimum wage was last increased in 2008.

Rogalla said about a third of the grocery store's 65 employees are near the minimum wage level.

“Anybody who has been with you for a few years, even if they're not at minimum wage, would get bumped up," he said. "It's not just who you hire — it's anybody you have that's not sitting at that level when that (legislation) goes through."

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


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