Michigan United
Letter to Governor Snyder: Poverty and Wages

Governor Snyder,

 

We are glad you will be in Kalamazoo this week to help celebrate the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center’s 10th anniversary.  We think it represents a great accomplishment for our community and is worthy of celebration.

 

However, there are many more equally important stories in Kalamazoo that warrant urgent attention. We would like to meet with you while you are in Kalamazoo on Wednesday to talk about poverty and fair wages.

 

Specifically, Kalamazoo has one of the highest childhood poverty rates in Michigan. The percentage of people living in poverty in the city has increased from 24.3% in 1999 to 38.8% in 2010 (US Census American Community Survey).

 

Even many of us who are fortunate enough to have full-time jobs cannot make ends meet when the minimum wage has stagnated at $7.40 an hour. We think that a full day’s work should pay well enough for us to be able to afford housing, food, and other life necessities, but that is not true right now and we need your help.

 

We are parents who are working harder and harder, and getting less and less back for our children.

 

We are elected representatives who see the devastating impact of poverty on our city and communities we love.

 

We are people of faith who believe there is a moral imperative to pay fair wages.

 

We are young workers who cannot find a middle class job after going into debt for our college education.

 

We are retirees who have had to go back to work to pay medical bills.

 

We are worried that Michigan’s economy is leaving us, and many like us, behind.  One thing that would help all of us is an increase in Michigan’s minimum wage, which is so low that full-time work leaves a family in poverty.

 

We are worried that Michigan’s economy is leaving us, and many like us, behind.  One thing that would help all of us is an increase in Michigan’s minimum wage, which is so low that full-time work leaves a family in poverty.

 

Governor Snyder, when you’re in Kalamazoo celebrating the Innovation Center, will you also meet with us so we can have a considered talk about poverty and wages?

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Brenda Hahn, Parishioner of St. Joseph Catholic Church

Don Cooney, Kalamazoo City Commissioner and Professor at Western Michigan University’s School of Social Work

Stephanie Moore, Kalamazoo City Commissioner

Darrin Camilleri, President of the Kalamazoo College Student Commission

Nicholas Boyd, Small business owner and parishioner at Christ Temple Church

Kathleen M. McGoff, retired AFSCME member

Wendy Medrano, Western Michigan University student and community organizer

Randy Iuliano, Southwest Michigan UAW CAP Council and UAW 2093 retiree

Kevin Hobbs, President UAW Local 2093

Mark Harris, Vice-President UAW Local 503

Larry Provancher, retired Portage Public Schools teacher, former Kalamazoo County Commissioner, retired MEA member, and landlord

Rebecca Hatley-Watkins, Parishioner at First United Methodist Church and low-wage worker

Dessa Cosma-King, Mothering Justice

Jose Aguilera, student at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and community organizer

Maureen McConnell-Martin, Parishioner of St. Thomas More Catholic Student Parish

Meredith Loomis Quinlan, Michigan United Economic Justice Organizer

Alison Geist, Director of the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement and Director of the Community and Global Health Concentration at Kalamazoo College

Samantha Drake, UAW 2093 member and former restaurant worker

Aimee Lopez-Linares, Western Michigan University student and restaurant worker

Lisa Brock, Ph.D., Academic Director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College

Jane Dudley, Parishioner of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church and Registered Nurse in Home Healthcare

Rev. Mollie Clements, located at First United Methodist Church

Sholanna Lewis, Administrative Assistant of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College

Allison Colberg, Parishioner of The River Church and Michigan United Lead Organizer in West Michigan

Rev. E. Allen Hayes, Kalamazoo

Margie Stinson, Parishioner of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church

Kris Mbah, Director of Aviators and a community organizer

Dr. Pat Stromsta, Director of Christian Education at Kalamazoo First Presbyterian Church

Roxanna Menchaca, Student at Kalamazoo College

Rhonda Geiger, UAW member

 

 

 

 

 

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