MI Rep. Tlaib Takes Challenge to Buy a Week’s Worth of Groceries on Minimum Wage

DETROIT - State Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) today announced that she will take the minimum wage challenge and shop for a week’s worth of groceries while only spending $42. The Economic Policy Institute’s family budget calculator factors in rent and other expenses a minimum wage worker encounters to arrive at the $42 a week grocery budget. Tlaib will take her $42 and shop for groceries on Wednesday, April 9, at 11 a.m. at Lafayette Foods, 1565 E. Lafayette St. in Detroit.

 “While it may sound like a lot of money at first, you can spend $42 quickly on necessary items like laundry soap, toilet paper, toothpaste and bar soap without purchasing any food at all,” said Tlaib. “All of a sudden, after working very hard at your minimum wage job you are quickly down to only having food for three weeks out of the month. That’s unacceptable and that’s why we need to raise the minimum wage.”

Tlaib is the sponsor of House Bill 4554, which would phase in increases to the state minimum wage over three years to $10 an hour by 2016, and raise the wages of tipped employees, i.e. restaurant servers, to equal 70 percent of that minimum wage. Both wages would be indexed to inflation. 

“If you do the math, it becomes clear that a single person, and certainly families with kids, can’t meet their basic needs on the minimum wage,” said Tlaib. “People who go to work every day should make enough money to pay the rent, have a car to get to and from work and feed their family. As I will show tomorrow when I shop, however, the minimum wage doesn’t let you do that. When you can’t afford to keep a roof over your head, gas in your tank and food on the table it’s time for an increase in the minimum wage.”