One Delegate's Push to Change Virginia's Labor Laws

Jan 5, 2018

As lawmakers prepare for the upcoming General Assembly session, many Democrats are pushing for an increase in the minimum wage. One delegate from Northern Virginia is going a step beyond.

Virginia’s minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. But that’s not the minimum wage for everybody. One part of the code outlines “tipped wages” for restaurant workers, who make less than $7.25 an hour because they get tips on top of that. But there’s another part of the code that has other exemptions to the minimum wage that bothers Delegate Paul Krizek, a Democrat from Fairfax County.

“It includes newsboys, shoeshine boys, caddies on golf courses, ushers, doormen, concession attendants and farm laborers, folks employed in domestic service.”

Delegate Paul Krizek (D-Fairfax County)
Credit Paul Krizek for Virginia Facebook Page

Krizek says this is a list that has Jim Crow written all over it.

“There’s a lot of old language there that was obviously aimed at African Americans that were in these service jobs because those were the jobs they could get at the time.”

He says he’d also like to end the exemptions under the tipped wage section, so that everybody from farm laborers to servers would make a living wage.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.