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July 4, 2015

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Bill seeks repeal of Nevada’s $8.25 minimum wage


AP Photo, Cathleen Allison

Danny Thompson, a lobbyist for the state AFL-CIO, speaks Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at a rally in front of the Legislature in Carson City. On Wednesday, Thompson spoke out against efforts to repeal the state’s minimum wage law.

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CARSON CITY – Abolishing Nevada's minimum wage would hurt low-paid workers who are spending their money locally while executives and higher-paid workers wouldn't see a change, labor representatives said Wednesday.

But representatives of employer groups urged a Senate committee to approve a proposed constitutional amendment to scrap the minimum wage law and requirements they say result in businesses not hiring, in some cases.

Before a packed hearing room, the Senate Committee on Commerce and Energy took testimony on Senate Joint Resolution 2, which would put the issue before voters over whether to eliminate the requirement that employers pay a minimum wage.

Nevada’s minimum wage is $8.25 an hour unless the employer provides qualified health insurance to the worker and his or her dependents. If health insurance is provided, the minimum wage drops to $7.25 cents an hour.

Danny Thompson, representing the Nevada AFL-CIO, told the committee that well-paid workers are putting their money in Swiss bank accounts while minimum wage earners are spending in the community.

Rita Weisshaar, who retired from NV Energy, noted a recent newspaper story reported that Michael Yackira, president and CEO of the utility, is earning $4.5 million a year.

“Take a look at the higher paid employees” instead of lower paid workers, she urged.

Samuel McMullen, representing the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, argued that a minimum wage shouldn't be locked into the constitution. "Let the people take it out and manage it on a case-by-case basis," he said.

Putting it in the constitution had some unintended consequences, McMullen said. For instance, restaurant servers make money off tips but they still enjoy minimum wage protection.

“Allow it to be revisited by the public,” McMullen urged the committee.

The Legislature rejected setting a minimum wage, so labor representatives circulated an initiative petition to set the minimum wage and tie it to the cost of living. Voters in 2004 approved the minimum wage initiative 68.3 to 31.6 percent, and voted again in 2006, 68.7 to 31.2 percent.

Gail Tuzzola, political coordinator for the AFL-CIO, said the current initiative to abolish the minimum wage would take money away from the lowest paid workers. She motioned around the room, many of those present wearing suits, and said, “Nobody in this room would be affected.”

Thompson said the amendment would “be a slap in the face” of the people who overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment on minimum wage.

Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, questioned why people shouldn't have a chance to vote on the issue again. Thompson answered that voters signed a petition initially to get the issue on the ballot.

McMullen, joined by the Nevada Retail Association, said the chamber opposes the minimum wage law being cemented in the constitution. He said circumstances have changed.

The committee didn't take action on the resolution. It would have to be passed by this and the next regular session of the Legislature, and then approved by voters.

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  1. How about we lower the maximum wage allowed?

  2. From Wikipedia on Distribution of Wealth:

    In the United States at the end of 2001, 10% of the population owned 71% of the wealth and the top 1% owned 38%. On the other hand, the bottom 40% owned less than 1% of the nation's wealth.

    When the minimum wage is abolished, the executives will receive a larger expense account, more benefits and no one new will be hired - the existing employees will just be driven harder.

    "Those that have want to have it all". That's all this bill is, looking to pull the last few spending dollars from their employees and when they get sick: fire them and lock them up - for $30,000/year if they steal food to eat.

    America already imprisons a larger percentage of it's population then any other country in the world. Get ready for more slammers and a "business friendly Nation" (gag).

  3. thepalms999: "I can only afford to pay him $7.25/hour. Because of the $8.25 minimum right now I can not hire him."

    Listen to the MATH: If palms999 could save $1/hour, he could hire two people for $7.25/hr vs. one for $8.25/hr.

    What really happens is that two people get hired at $7.25/hr BUT are cut to 20 hrs/week each.

    Then these two are called as "consultants" or "managers" and may legally work more then 20 hrs/wk due to their classification. Palms now gets 60 hrs/wk for a labor bill of $7.25x40 hrs, a true wage of $4.83/hr for the time spent and NO TIPS!

    Yabadabadoo ! The alligator just ate you.

  4. Harley: "Government has no right dictating labor compensation -- to or for anyone." Oh yeah?

    This also means the Government no right to pick a minimum age for work, so child labor as existed at the turn of the century can return.

    However, the People of this Country have a right to dictating labor compensation by consensus vote, that's what the Government is about - "Of by and for the people".

    To say "the Government has no Rights" really means "the PEOPLE HAVE NO RIGHTS", and that is incorrect.

  5. My main problem with this is that there are hard and fast rules in the state constitution. This should have been addressed with legislation.

    If legislators don't pass the laws you want, then elect new representatives who will.

  6. You're Wal-Mart(or pick the Corporation of Choice) training your employees how to fill in forms for Government Assistance, yet you make Billions - are owned by Billionaires - and want even lower wages and fewer benefits.
    If the Workers don't organize soon there will be no-one left to make the Rich - Rich. Any skill valuable. Or a Country worth fighting for.
    The right Wing Politicians, Corporations, The Supreme Court and other Wealth Brokers are all alligned against the middle class.

  7. "Thompson (Nevada AFL-CIO) said the amendment would 'be a slap in the face' of the people who overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment on minimum wage."


    Why is it that the Republican Party takes all the ills of society out on the people who cash checks and spend them?

    And not the people who issue them?

    We need to fight them.

    All of them.

    The filthy rich and the corporations only comprise two percent of the population.

    The middle class and below are 98 percent.

    We outnumber them.

    Time to make them feel our muscle at the next elections.

    We are compelled to slap them senseless and vote them all out.

    The Republican Party's war on wage earners continues. And they will continue the war. Until we stop them.

    Time to wake up a sleeping giant.

  8. I haven't been a minimum wager for 30 years, so this will not affect me personally. Most minimum wagers I know (other than teenagers still living at home) need every dime they bring home and already do without a lot. I can't imagine squeezing them any more. When gas goes up like it has the past few months, that's a big expense to the lower paid folks in proportion to income. I say leave it alone.
    I do find it ironic that a union leader is the one lobbying against it, considering that the union employees are generally not minimum wage earners.
    To those who scream that it's all "The Republicans" causing it all, I know a couple of wealthy businessmen who are Democrats who live the real good life and cry the blues when they have to give their store employees an extra nickel in their paycheck.

  9. i vote for a government employee salary cap .

  10. lets see, $8.25 an hour = 16,830 per yr. the poverty level for the contiguous united states for a family of 4 in 2011 is 18,310.

    now if that family of 4 want health care, in 2010 that averaged 18,074.

    now if both adults have a minimum wage job that leaves them less than 15k a yr BEFORE TAXES to live on. if they only pay 15% in taxes they have about 1,000 per month for rent/mortgage, food, clothing, utilities & gas. it cost me $40 a week to fill my tank. if they share 1 car thats $160 less per month & god forbid if they pay for auto insurance.

    get real people. not everybody can afford higher education & many cant manage to graduate high school. some, through no fault of their own. this does not mean they cant be good workers AND neighbors AND friends. they cant afford to gamble in your casinos or even eat at your restaurants but they deserve the same respect as our CEOs & politcians.

    (not to be sexist) but a man is a man. treat him as such. treat him with respect and society as a whole will be a better place.

    i am not a religious person (nor a democrat, nor a rebulican) but on some level am i not (all of us) my brother's keeper.

  11. Okay all you economic professors commenting here. Why not just make the minimun wage $25 per hour so the minimum wage workers won't be so poor?

  12. One question:
    If the minimum wage is reduced by $1.00,will the fast food joints reduce the price of a burger by a comparable amount ?
    I don't think so...

  13. Why does this all sound like a Charles Dickens novel?

    While the super-rich gain an ever-increasing share of the national wealth, some legislators concentrate on attacking the middle class and poor people.

    Unless this country wakes up, we are doomed.

  14. I'm conservative, but this Is ridiculous. It's only to pad their own pockets with extra cash. If a business can not survive off paying a minimum wage of 8.25, other than tipping positions. They shouldn't be in business. I would feel guilty of paying someone less than that. Think of quality of life the employee would have. I'm not against people making a lot of money. However, if I'm making over a million a year clear, I wouldn't cut my employees pay, so I can make 1.1 Million. I would rather my employees be able to live a decent life. Not that 8.25 is much anyways, but to make it lower? No way, that's not being a good person.

  15. Why are people trying to live off minimum wage? Are you kidding? Minimum wage is the MINIMUM, it's for people starting out. You are not supposed to live off or raise a family off of it. If you are, best of luck to you but I hope you someday realize that by trying to squeeze that last dollar out of your employer you might cost your neighbor his job in the process.

    WHY ARE PEOPLE TRYING TO LIVE OFF MINIMUM WAGE???? This post of your's isn't serious, is it??? Sure there are people that will not take a minimum wage job right now because collecting unemployment pays more. BUT....ask those whose unemployment has run out after agressively looking for work the last 2 years and you'll get a totally different perspective on those taking a minimum wage job. It's either that min. wage job or nothing. People, educated people and not those starting out, are working minimum wage jobs because they can't find anything else, especially those over a certain age. Some are working TWO, possible THREE, minimum, wage jobs. It ain't fun but bills have to be paid, families need to eat, gas has to be put in the car.

    For someone who owns their own business and IS an employER, you sure are stupid!

  16. Palms, In these days (and those in the past) most people start out at or near minimum and work their way up. That's what I did. However, there are some out there who are "not college material" for whatever reason. You seem to think that all lower paid folks are a bunch of unskilled (your words) idiots. Well, many of them are working those minimum pay jobs and somehow making ends meet, instead of living off of the system, which might actually "pay" more. I've seen minimum wagers who are idiots (I've also seen millionaires who are idiots), it's not an "exclusive" club. But to assume that they are all idiots is foolish. They start out low so the employer can TEACH them some of the skills. Maybe one gets hired to sweep the floors or stock shelves, and works up tho cashier which pays a buck more an hour, or even Assistant Manager (if they are truly dedicated, many are) which again pays more. That clerk at the Texaco or the girl at the Taco Bell, may be making at or near minimum, but they are working, many are learning, and you can always tell the ones who will eventually move on to a better position by the attitude they have. If everyone was "educated" (college) we would still need those folks in those jobs. I'd rather they make their $8.25 an hour, working hard to get that 50c raise, than living off of some government welfare program that we all pay for and complain about.
    One thing I've learned over the years, just because someone makes less than me, or has less "education" than me, or works a "lesser" job than me, doesn't mean they shouldn't get the same respect from me that I expect from them.
    Also, a lot of those out there earning minimum ARE college graduates, or folks who once had "good" jobs, lost to the recession. We all know some of them. They are taking what's available until they can get work in the field they are trained for. I give them credit for WORKING!
    I once worked for an employer who nickeled and dimed his minimum wage employees (me, at the time) to death, talked down to them, complained if they had to pay them for an extra hour's work because they were asked (told) to work that hour at the last minute, never paid any bonus (Even a lousy $50 at the end of the year for a loyal employee will show them you care), while he bought new vehicles several times a year, lived in a very nice place, took expensive vacations, etc. I found a better job. Years later, I ran into him at the dealership where I was buying a fairly expensive (to me) car, he commented that was a "pretty nice car, how can you afford that"? I said "I don't work fot YOU anymore!"
    Now I want the businessman to be able to buy the new cars and live the good life (they tend to be the ones able to make payroll), but if they do so without ever rewarding the employees who keep the cash drawer full, the employees will not be as loyal as they might if shown some respect.

  17. Let's take away all pay and benefits from the Governor.

  18. I to wonder how many AFL-CIO memeber are working for min wage. Let us CAP that wage first. 8.25 an hour is about $22,305 a yr with 8 hours overtime, a 48 hr workweek. It is $17,160 40 hr week. I do think $8.25 in about is about as low as it gets, I pay a guy $11 an hour to sweep the floor though only a few hours a week. If someone wants to stick with a min wage job that is his/her decision, and many are happy with that decison for many reasons. These people are free to work where ever they want for a higher wage if they so choose. This is America, land of oportunity!

  19. palms, I did not copy and paste, maybe that one part of my comment shold have been directed to tbvegas or another.. All of my comment was in responsr to comments on THIS page, or to the article. I just believe that there is no reason to cut the pay of those already barely getting by. I haven't been a minimum wager for decades, but I do respect thosw who work and do a good job, regardless of wage. If one's business cannot survive over a dollar an hour wages, maybe the business is not viable, maybe you are spending too much on your own lavish lifestyle (that's a question, not a statement, since I know nothing about your lifestyle or spending habits). Nothing wrong with lavish lifestyle, just don't then plead poverty when it comes to paying your employees.
    I'm a Republican, but I also believe in paying people a decent wage, and minimum is not a decent wage already, and some want to cut it?