Fail: Michigan ‘worker’ supports minimum wage increase, but it’s really a PR trick


By Eric Boehm |

A group working to increase the minimum wage in Michigan wants residents to believe the effort is led from the grassroots.

After all, these are real workers struggling to survive on Michigan’s $7.40 per hour minimum wage, right?

DETAILS MATTER: Particularly when those details involve the very essence of the message you’re trying to send.



A news release sent Monday by Raise Michigan, a coalition of unions and other nationwide progressive groups such as the Restaurant Opportunity Center, seriously undercut that grassroots message with the ultimate canned quote.

According to Raise Michigan’s statement: “My family can’t survive on $7.40 an hour,” said WORKER, “It’s not fair that I work full-time, and be living in poverty. Everyone who is working full-time deserves to live with dignity.” (H/T to the Detroit News for pointing this out)

Clearly, the author of the release meant to find a person’s name to go along with the powerful quote, but someone hit send before it could be added to the text. It’s a strong message, of course, but it kind of loses its punch because it was written by a public relations hack instead of an actual, living, breathing member of America’s working class.

But it really should not be much of a surprise. As has reported several times, groups like ROC are funded from the top down – the very top, in fact, since ROC has received several federal grants, including one they got after misleading the Department of Labor about their nonprofit status, which we reported this week.

Powerful unions such as the AFL-CIO and SEIU are bankrolling the minimum wage push by funding groups like ROC and others who protest low wages at restaurants, fast-food joints and large retailers such as Walmart.

Next time I see a story about a local worker who can’t support his or her family on the current minimum wage, I’m going to be a little more skeptical about how genuine those testimonials are.

Granted, this is standard public relations practice, and groups from all corners of the political spectrum participate in PR hackery at some point. But it’s refreshing to see the occasional example that makes it so clear and obvious.

Boehm is a reporter for and can be reached at Follow @WatchdogOrg on Twitter for more.

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