Youth Sub-Minimum Wage Rebuffs Voters, Opens Door to Age Discrimination

The South Dakota Democratic Party gave South Dakotans the opportunity to vote on raising South Dakota’s minimum wage in 2014. Voters responded by approving a 17% increase in that basic labor protection. Thanks to the yearly cost-of-living increase included in that 2014 initiative, South Dakota’s minimum wage is now $8.55 an hour.

Senator David Novstrup’s (R-3/Aberdeen) is pushing Referred Law 20 to cut the minimum wage for workers under 18 back to $7.50. Novstrup’s bill could take over $500 away from a teenager who works full-time through the summer. The South Dakota Democratic Party is countering Novstrup’s RL 20 as an attack on voters and on workers:

SDDP NO on 20, first circulated 2016.08.17.
SDDP NO on 20, first circulated 2016.08.17.

The Dems rightly identify the political motivations behind RL 20. Novstrup, who gets nervous when voters decide things, is pushing his youth sub-minimum wage to attack the 2014 initiative and discourage South Dakotans from using their initiative and referendum power.

Dems also rightly fly the other big d-word, discrimination. Labor protections like the minimum wage are for everyone in the workplace, regardless of age. If we can justify paying 16-year-olds sub-minimum due to perceptions that they aren’t as smart or ambitious as adult workers, we can justify paying 63-year-olds sub-minimum due to their declining physical stamina. We can justify paying pregnant moms less than minimum since they can’t walk as fast or lift as much.

David Novstrup, whose family makes its living on a seasonal business that already enjoys an exemption from the minimum wage law thanks to a bill Novstrup helped pass in 2011, would take us down an ugly road, promoting disrespect and discrimination with the youth sub-minimum wage. The South Dakota Democratic Party is fighting for voters and workers. You can, too, by voting NO on Referred Law 20.

9 Responses to Youth Sub-Minimum Wage Rebuffs Voters, Opens Door to Age Discrimination

  1. He is just another order taker in Pierre.

  2. Douglas Wiken

    Phrase should be more like, “The minimum wage for the same work should be the same for everyone– regardless of age.”

  3. Question, how is it that an individual on a state board or a state employee cannot be involved with anything resembling a conflict of interest but a state legislator can write up and pass a bill that benefits them directly?

  4. David Novstrup

    I have to correct some of your statements on this issue because they just aren’t accurate.
    1. I don’t get nervous when voters decide things. If I am so nervous of voters why would I have run for the legislature 5 times and won? I have a lot of faith in the voters educating themselves and choosing the best candidate and voting the right way on issues on the ballot.
    2. Also if RL 20 is discrimination why did the Democrat controlled legislature in Minnesota pass a similar youth minimum wage in 2014? Why does Minnesota have different minimum wage laws for large and small businesses if everyone should be paid the same? There are several other states (Republican and Democrat) that have similar provisions too. This is part of the Minnesota law:
    (e) Notwithstanding paragraph (b), a large employer must pay an employee under the age of 18 at a rate of at least:
    (1) $6.50 per hour beginning August 1, 2014;
    (2) $7.25 per hour beginning August 1, 2015;
    (3) $7.75 per hour beginning August 1, 2016; and
    (4) the rate established under paragraph (f) beginning January 1, 2018.
    No employer may take any action to displace an employee, including a partial displacement through a reduction in hours, wages, or employment benefits, in order to hire an employee at the wage authorized in this paragraph.
    3. For you and other people to say that we will pay the elderly a sub minimum wage is just ridiculous.
    4. You are totally misleading your readers when you say that I helped pass a bill to give my business an exemption to the minimum wage law. HB 1148 was sponsored by Rep. Verchio in 2011. I didn’t sponsor it and I didn’t speak for or against the only thing I did was vote. The SD Department of Labor authored the bill and was brought because state law wasn’t consistent with federal law. So how did I get an exemption for my business into federal law (29 CFR 779.356 – Application of exemptions to employees)? In 2011 HB 1148 passed the House 67-1 and the Senate 31-4 so even if I would have voted against it 30 times it would have passed and regardless of the vote on the bill the language would still be in federal law. Another important fact is none of our Aberdeen Thunder Road employees make less than $9.25 per hour and they have the opportunity to earn up to $1 per hour bonus. So that exemption doesn’t even impact us.
    5. Also if RL 20 does go into law our youngest workers will still be making more money at the youth minimum wage than people in 21 states that have minimum wage lower than $7.50. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 in most of those 21 states. You are also assuming employers will pay their employees $7.50 no matter what which isn’t true. An employer could decide to pay their employee $8 or $8.25 if this bill would go into law. Finally when did earning minimum wage become a goal? Don’t people want to make more than minimum wage and more than what the government says you have to minimally be paid?
    These are the facts that Cory was either hiding from his readers for political reasons or he just didn’t do the research he should have done on this issue.

  5. David, you use the word “accurate”, but I don’t think you understand what that means.

    1. The words to which I link are yours. Listen to the link and tell us why they don’t mean what you said.

    2. The fact that Minnesota does it doesn’t mean it’s not age discrimination or that it is right. Of course, if you want to argue that “if Minnesota does it, it must be right,” I look forward to your support for a state income tax.

    3. Why not, David? If we can justify paying kids less than minimum because they supposedly don’t work as hard as adults, why couldn’t we identify other classes of workers whose abilities aren’t up to the general workforce’s?

    4. David, Legislation 101: when you vote for a bill, you are helping pass it. If market forces have driven you to pay above-minimum wages, that’s great, but the record is clear, and my statement is absolutely accurate: you helped pass a bill that gives your business an exemption from the minimum wage law.

    5. The fact that other states have even lower minimum wages does not bear much relevance for 16–17-year-old workers who probably aren’t applying for jobs regionally and won’t travel more than a few miles from Mom and Dad’s house for their temporary jobs. And we’re not talking about a goal; we’re talking about offering every worker the same basic labor protections, regardless of age. The fact is that you are trying to cut the minimum wage for South Dakota’s teen workers by a $1.05.

    David, you’re pretty good at throwing distractions, but you utterly fail at addressing the specific issues at hand. You have not shown that one word I said in my post was false. I’ve shown that every point of your response is either false or irrelevant. Would you like to try again?

  6. Senator David Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) is pushing a self-serving agenda against the will of the people. His obvious disrespect for South Dakotans is appalling.

  7. David Bergan

    “Another important fact is none of our Aberdeen Thunder Road employees make less than $9.25 per hour and they have the opportunity to earn up to $1 per hour bonus. So that exemption doesn’t even impact us.”

    Hi David,

    If that’s true, then why are you championing RL20? Why not instead encourage all other employers of teens to follow Thunder Road’s example?

    Kind regards,

  8. That’s a good question, David Bergan. If Novstrup is accurately reporting what he pays his employees, then Thunder Road seems to be yet another example of how the minimum wage increase we passed in 2014 is not having a negative impact on employment.

  9. David Novstrup: “none of our Aberdeen Thunder Road employees make less than $9.25 per hour”

    I notice you conveniently single out the Aberdeen location. I can’t help but wonder if the teenage employees working in Sioux Falls or Watertown are being paid at a similar level.

    I don’t mean to sound cynical, but I’m assuming market forces are the driving force behind what is being paid to these workers. I somehow doubt Thunder Road is paying above minimum wage just because they want to help some kids pay their college tuition.