ROC Michigan Bails on $363K Ballot Initiative

It should serve as a cautionary lesson for any group considering an investment in ROC or any of its affiliate chapters. Several months ago, ROC Michigan vowed that it would help put a minimum wage increase of $10.10 on the state ballot. ROC MI’s executive director, Frank Houston, signed on to helped lead the Raise Michigan campaign. ROC donated resources as well – investing at least $363,000 in the effort.

Sure, there were missteps along the way. Houston had originally said the group would pursue a minimum wage increase to $9.50 before changing the amount to $10.10, a convenient political tie-in to President Obama’s proposed hike. And who can forget the PR flap where Raise Michigan – front group of front groups – quoted “WORKER” in their concocted press release?

“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.” 

While these blunders were playing out on a national stage, the Michigan Legislature approved a wage increase on its own,which the Governor signed into law. The new law effectively negated the ROC sponsored proposal while also allowing the tip credit to remain intact. But Houston and ROC vowed to fight on – that is, until they didn’t. Raise Michigan said it would still pursue a ballot proposal to hike the wage, claiming it had gathered 319,000 signatures. This was a huge overshot given that a proposal requires 258,088 valid signatures to go on the ballot.

Incredibly, ROC MI and Raise Michigan fumbled the ball again – this time in spectacular fashion. In a 3 – 1 vote, the bipartisan Board of State Canvassers found that the petitions submitted by Raise Michigan were thousands short of the necessary amount, citing more than 4,000 estimated duplicates. Raise Michigan has said they will consider challenging the decision because, as Frank Houston claimed, “The fix was in early.”

Unfortunately for ROC, the blunders of the Raise Michigan campaign speak for themselves. ROC’s Michigan chapter bumbled its way through the ballot initiative process before finally bailing before the work was done. They wasted the time of thousands of Michiganders who signed the petitions (some more than once). Raise Michigan and ROC MI also wasted a tremendous amount of money with virtually nothing to show for it. “That’s a lesson for anyone thinking of supporting ROC,” said WORKER.