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Apr 03, 2014 07:00 AM EDT

Obama Urges U-M Community to Support Minimum Wage Hike for Workers

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President Barack Obama made a stop at University of Michigan Wednesday, and urged the crowd at the school's Intramural Sports Building to unite for an increased federal minimum wage.

Obama's visit to U-M comes a week before the Senate is set to vote on a plan that would raise the minimum wage to from $7.40 per hour to $10.10 by 2016.

The President's visit to the university is also a bid to push a state-wide campaign to raise federal minimum wage from $7.40 per hour to $10.10. The group 'Raise Michigan' is collecting signatures to send the bill to the legislature which will have 40 days to pass it. If not, then the bill will go for vote in November.

"He's coming to Michigan to make the point that workers need a raise," said U-M law school professor Michael Barr. "It's a good locale for that reason. Obviously workers in Michigan could benefit significantly," M Live reports.

"It's time to give America a raise. Nobody who works full time should be raising their family in poverty.... But that's what's happening all across the country," Obama said in a statement. "(Raising the minimum wage) would lift millions of people out of poverty right away. It would help millions more work their way out of poverty right away."

Obama said that people who engage in critical and necessary work every day (airport workers, restaurant workers, hospital workers, retails salespeople) are entitled to a descent pay for  a modest living.

The president, elected into office twice, said that the federal hike would not only help low income earners but will also increase the pay of 28 million Americans. He said the average age of a person earning a minimum wage is 35, where most are women trying to support a family.

Obama further said that Republicans have continually failed to introduce policies that are aimed at eradicating poverty.

"If workers are being paid well, they are spending more money and businesses have more money," Obama said,  M live reports.

Opponents of the bill, including many Republicans, are claiming that minimum wage increase would harm job growth and boost consumer prices, M Live reports.

Apart from advocating raising minimum wages, Obama also spoke to several U-M student athletes and three Michigan basketball players over the team's loss in the NCAA Tournament.

Obama's April 2 visit is his third to U-M campus. The president gave the spring commencement address in 2010 and also interacted with campus community in January 2012. As a result, Obama becomes the only sitting president to have visited U-M the most.

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