Young readers, two numbers:
$1.00 is the pay cut you will take if South Dakota’s Legislature has its way. Last November, South Dakota voters said all workers should get a minimum wage of $8.50 an hour, with an automatic yearly raise to keep up with the cost of living. On January 1, that raise took effect.
But yesterday, the House approved Senate Bill 177, which sets the minimum wage for workers under 18 at $7.50 an hour, with no annual cost-of-living adjustment. That means if you’re under 18 and you’re working for minimum wage right now, on July 1, your boss can cut your pay by $1.00 an hour. If you’re working 30 hours a week at Thunder Road for David Novstrup (you know, Senator Novstrup, the guy who sponsored this bill), you lose $30 a week, all because Novstrup and his dad/boss Rep. Al Novstrup and several other Republicans believe your time and work aren’t as valuable as everyone else’s. And without the cost-of-living adjustment, the gap between what you and your younger brothers and sisters can earn and what adults get for doing the same work will only get worse.
605-773-3212 is the number you can call to stop this pay cut. 605-773-3212 is Governor Dennis Daugaard’s number. Having passed the Legislature, SB 177 now needs the Governor’s desk, and he says he hasn’t made up his mind on cutting your pay:
But Daugaard hasn’t taken a position yet regarding the $7.50 youth minimum wage, according to his chief of staff, Tony Venhuizen.
“He will be listening to the debates and considering it over the next several days,” Venhuizen said [Bob Mercer, “House OKs Youth Minimum Wage, But Governor Undecided,” Rapid City Journal, 2015.03.04].
Understand, protecting your minimum wage may not be an easy sell:
During the fall election campaigns, Daugaard said he opposed the ballot measure that increased the state minimum wage to $8.50 on Jan. 1 from $7.25 and added an annual inflation adjustment.
Daugaard said then he didn’t believe in a minimum wage [Mercer, 2015.03.04].
But calling the Governor to protect your pay and your basic rights as a worker is worth a shot. If we can persuade the Governor to respect you young workers and the will of the voters, we can avoid having to refer this bad law to a public vote.
Save that dollar. Call the Governor. Tweet the Governor. Get your friends to call and Tweet the Governor.
And if that doesn’t work, remember who voted for cutting your pay, and come help us vote to fire those people in 2016.