Minimum wage hike could have consequences

Gov. Rick Snyder and Lansing’s lawmakers recently made the decision to hike Michigan’s minimum wage.
Jun 11, 2014


Snyder signed the legislation last week to raise the state's minimum wage by 25 percent gradually over the next four years, with the goal of reaching $9.25 an hour.

Reports out of Lansing say Republicans — who control the state government — made the move to prevent a November ballot measure that could have increased the minimum wage even more.

While on the surface this might seem like a win for Michigan’s workers, we have concerns with its prospects. Who’s to say this might lead to more automation?

Walk into any Meijer store and the “Did you find everything you’re looking for?” from a friendly cashier has been replaced with a touchscreen.

Those friendly baggers who used to pack your groceries and carry them out to your car? They’ve been replaced by a carousel system of sterile plastic bags.

Part-time labor for teens and young adults is slowly getting shoved to the side. With grocers and other retailers forced to pay more for their employees, who’s to say this won’t become more common?

And what happens to the small mom-and-pop restaurants that exist in Michigan that are already fighting to stay afloat? A minimum wage increase could cut into these places’ profits, which could cause layoffs and even closures. Those are in addition to the possible increases in the price of food and other goods just to keep up with the increase in employees’ pay.

While the law has already been signed, we can only hope the effects aren’t too extreme and a move to benefit our state’s laborers ends up causing more harm than good.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



well it has already started in Grand Haven and Spring Lake. Prices have increased on menus items by over $1.00 per item. The days of getting a breakfast for under $5.00 are over. It will cost a family of 4 over $40.00 for a basic breakfast. I was told by the owner of this breakfast restaurant downtown GH that this was because if Obama care and the minimum wage increase. Funny when this employer does not offer his employee's any health care benefits. Nothing more then corporate greed.


Then perhaps the family could make a day like Sunday morning to get to gather and make breakfast at home, like a Sunday brunch thing, prices go up save money, stay home

I'm Nobody From...

Because of Obamacare! lol Another idiot Republican business owner. Maybe he should look at how he's running his business, but than that would mean taking responsibility.

Robinson Reader

Apparently there are many here who have never started or run a business. Or talked to anyone that has. Most businesses are started by someone who takes a chance. They invest thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of dollars...sometimes their life savings up to that point, to open a business. They then spend years, sometimes decades, living frugally and sacrificing so that the business can succeed. In that time they're working their butts off, putting in long hours for little or no pay.

And THEN after years of sacrifice, they begin to reap the rewards of their hard work and sacrifice.

You all MIGHT want to read the children's story of the Little Red Hen. You apparently missed the lesson there. Here's a video.

You pigs, ducks and cats who want the finished product should have invested your money and free labor if you wanted to eat some of the bread.


What a bunch of garbage. I have lots of friends who work in restaurants. Servers still make $2.65, bartenders are (usually) $5 or $6. Kitchen workers have always made at least minimum wage, and most restaurants do not need to offer health insurance (not many full timers) If he could just be honest-tell you that the cost of food went up, or he wanted a bigger profit....


Yes the greedy have raised their prices. Shows how Christian Grand Haven is. They don't care about the poor worker, they only care about the money.


Anyway, dont matter the reason the prices go up, our wages do not increase


newspaperlawyer: Obamacare and the minimum wage hike make wonderful excuses to raise prices. Just like the excuses that are made for gas price jumps - refineries down, conflict in BFE, etc - whatever. Business owners who use these excuses to raise prices even though the excuse doesn't actually impact on their businesses are probably poor businesspeople who rely on destructive negativity rather than contructive, positive, creative ways to increase business and profits.

The jig is up when they set prices higher than the market will bear, and they price themselves out of business.

As for the Minimum Wage encouraging automation: Automation has been trending globally, and will be the way of the future regardless of the minimum wage. As the US experiences a manufacturing boom because of "reshoring", or a return of US manufacturing that had outsourced production and is now finding greater viability in bringing manufacturing back, automation is one of the main factors in allowing manufacturers to retain their competitiveness while reshoring.

The tradeoff is that there will always be a need for management, maintenance, skilled trade and operator jobs. Workers that typically make minimum wage - retail and fast food - are actually a very small percentage of overall workers.

And as for the fast food industry: CEOs in fast-food industry earn more than 1,000 times as much as workers. Fast-food workers’ fight for better pay has taken on new urgency as a report published Tuesday found the wage discrepancy between workers and their CEOs is the highest of any sector — likely hurting employees' morale and posing a risk to the industry’s profits, experts say. In 2013, executive pay was more than 1,000 times the average worker’s wage.

“We found that [the] fast-food [industry] is acutely out of line with the rest of the economy,” said Catherine Ruetschlin, a policy analyst at Demos and author of the report. CEOs at fast-food companies now earn four times more than they did in 2000, while workers’ wages increased 0.3 percent, according to the report.

Barry Soetoro

How about that Taco Bell breakfast? I haven't had the pleasure of trying it myself but if has the same gastrointestinal effect as the rest of the menu Barry S. would respectfully recommend being in close proximity to a toilet - preferably a clean and familiar one.

They open @ 6:00...


We'd better hurry in before they raise their prices. I'll be there tomorrow at 5:40 a.m. and get us a place in line. Just how familiar are you with the toilets in the area??

Barry Soetoro

Not familiar enough to chance it with breakfast from TB. Sorry.


Taco Bell, never been there !!!

Barry Soetoro

Let's go to Gord's for Sunday brunch.


I bet he'll be at Taco Bell - look at how he's trying to give me bum steer so he can be first in line!


Oatmeal anyone, back to the basic,s


It'll cure whatever ails ya - especially with brown sugar and raisins.

Robinson Reader

You said "And as for the fast food industry: CEOs in fast-food industry earn more than 1,000 times as much as workers. Fast-food workers’ fight for better pay has taken on new urgency as a report published Tuesday found the wage discrepancy between workers and their CEOs is the highest of any sector — likely hurting employees' morale and posing a risk to the industry’s profits, experts say. In 2013, executive pay was more than 1,000 times the average worker’s wage."

My reply: There is an assumption that there is the same value associated in different jobs. You take take literally anyone off the street and teach them how to cook a hamburger in less than a day and they would do a great job. You couldn't take anyone off the street and teach them how to run a business in a day. That's something that takes years of education, experience and personal growth. It involves learning to deal with people at all levels, fiscal responsibility, negotiation skills and hundreds of other skills that are amassed over years of working in that particular industry. Of COURSE CEO's make thousands of time more! The alternative is to have the business run by someone who doesn't know what they're doing which quickly leads to a failure of the business!



Say no to new taxes

Insane trade policies shipped all of our good paying jobs overseas, leaving nothing but fast food and part time service jobs for the underclass. "Free trade" is a joke on American citizens, enriching only a few at the expense of many.

Michael Johnson

Hmmm...what a convenient excuse. I wonder what the excuse was each of the past 15 years when menu items increased magically the first week after school was out for the summer. The truth is, if you cannot afford to both run a business and pay your employees a living wage, perhaps you're actually not cut out to run a business.


Are you a business owner or an employee?


How about people stop complaining about having to pay higher prices. Most people live beyond their means anyway, sounds like certain individuals want their cake and to be able to eat it too. Everyone has choices, you could open up your own restaurant and charge what you like. You could be more conservative with your finances.

Seriously, you're complaining because you have to pay $6 instead of $5 for breakfast? How much would it cost you to have a team of people make your meals at home (other than your wife/husband and kids)? Certainly more than $6. And, I highly doubt a restaurant raising their prices has anything to do with being Christian or not. How would you label a restaurant owner who offers you coupons to SAVE you money? A Christian?

Remember that you have choices. Restaurants depend on your business to stay open. So, if you don't want to pay their prices don't go (which means you may actually starve...I know). But, if you can't resist dining out, do not complain. Because it just sounds like you can't afford to spend your money there anyway, and it makes you way more irresponsible than the restaurant owner. In fact, if the establishment has been open for a good while, it's probably because the owner has a good idea about his/her finances and the market in which he/she wishes to sell, and they probably have a good idea that $1 here or there isn't going to turn away enough business to pull the prices back down.


Your right... so because this owner already owns four restaurants in the downtown area one doesn't have many choices, but the service is pretty poor. That's what you get when the owner is never around... I did notice Russ' business has picked up.


Why don't you just come out and say his name newspaper? We all know who it is, seems like you have a gripe about everything....I've never has bad service or food at one of his establishments. Russ' is just the same its always been nothing new.

Want good food, pay the extra buck or two.

Former Grandhavenite

That's disappointing to hear, considering I really like several of his restaurants, and the mysterious and unnamed "breakfast place downtown" is one of my first stops whenever I'm back in town. I've been getting Farmer's Breakfasts there since back in the day when there was a giant root vegetable with a face mounted on the front of the building.

Ahhh who am I kidding- All the locals and old timers here know I'm talking about Pronto Pups anyway so we might as well just get that out of the way. What next, are you guys going to make me stop going to Mr. Kozak's by telling me the guy has some unsavory views regarding the federal reserve board and the potential impacts of another round of quantitative easing?






Not me, i am stuck on Golden Coral, the prices have gone up there too, but worth it, breakfast for $6.99 during the week

Harry Kovaire


You could give the Dining Diva's a run for their money.


Tel ya the truth, there are no good place,s to eat in this town, as usual, one has to travel to get the best deal,s without drooping a $100 bill



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