Amusement park workers exempt from minimum wage increase in Ohio

Posted Wednesday, January 3, 2007 9:42 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft yesterday signed a law exempting some workers from the newly increased minimum wage approved by voters on Nov. 7. Democrats accused Republicans of using the usually routine process of translating a constitutional amendment into law to write out some workers, including home health-care workers, amusement park employees, and agricultural workers at small operations.

Read more from The Toledo Blade.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 10:02 AM
Rolling my eyes. What a slap in the face to these employees.
Wednesday, January 3, 2007 10:28 AM
LOL, and here I thought Republicans were firmly in the corner of the little guy... ;)

Not that the Democrats are much better... :(

"Approved by voters"....sounds like our light-rail system, ALSO approved by voters. Elected officials decided FOR us that we were mistaken and "fixed" the error that we voters made...

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 11:30 AM
The increase was sold as a way to help poor families get a wage increase. It makes for a great emotional issue, but it falls apart in the real world. I had a relative who couldn't believe I voted against it. "Why would you be against poor working families getting a raise?" That has nothing to do with the issue, but that's the typical question from someone who hasn't looked at it beyond a 'class warfare' level.

Who makes minimum wage? Less that 5% of all workers who earn an hourly wage actually make the minimum. Of those, only 10% support families. That's 10% of 5%. Research from Cornell University on the effect of a potential wage increase in New York showed that only 14 percent of the benefits from the raise would go to poor families.

If you are one of the very few who support a family on minimum wage, the valid question is, why? Is it difficult to find a job that pays above minimum wage? Of course not. It might not be $30/hr, but you can work at McDonald's and make more than $6.85. At some point, you have to accept responsibility for your own income and stop depending on the government to protect you. Learn a skill. Make something of yourself.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 11:42 AM
Geauga Lake already has trouble getting good help. Now with this, it will no make it any easier. Bob Taft is a Jackass, and I am so glad that peiece of crap will be out of office in a few days.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 11:50 AM
In response to Gemini's comments:


The minimum wage is in place to set a base pay for a basic skill, whether its washing cars, bagging groceries, or selling ice cream. If you're 30 and still working a minimum wage job and trying to support a family on it, you better take responsibility for your decision not to get an education and make life better for yourself with a higher skill, higher paying job.

Ultimately the question is, should minimum wage go up in lock step with inflation? I'm not an economist and I couldn't tell you that. What I do know is that when you raise the wage of those who do the basic everyday jobs, the employer has two options to cover their employee wages, either raise prices or cut jobs. It's pretty simple. The business owner isn't going to take a loss out of the goodness of their heart, they created a business to make money.

As the person in charge of keeping finances in track in the household, I can tell you that I've already have seen a price increase mainly in groceries because the cost associated with getting those items on the shelves (i.e. gas, wages) have gone up.

So we raised wages for 5% of the working class and ended up raising prices for everyone else. Which means it'll be only a matter of time until we see the complaints of minimum wage again.

~Rob Willi*** This post was edited by HeyIsntThatRob? 1/3/2007 11:51:26 AM ***

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 11:56 AM

Elected officials decided FOR us that we were mistaken and "fixed" the error that we voters made...
Come on, man, that was a bad idea. Who votes a train into their constitution? It's like voting bans on gay marriage and smoking into your constitution. ;)

At risk of sounding like a Republican, I think that minimum wage should largely be dictated by market conditions, as there is no denying that it can contribute to inflation. Walt is correct in that it's a fun election year issue, but so few people make minimum that it's a hollow gesture.

That said, it irritates the crap out of me when they want to make special exceptions, because it just stinks of favoritism. I'd like someone to explain why the exemptions are good policy.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 12:05 PM
"I can tell you that I've already have seen a price increase mainly in groceries because the cost associated with getting those items on the shelves (i.e. gas, wages) have gone up."

While I agree that the minimum wage arguement holds little water, I am not convinced that the change in minimum wage has the sweeping changes you noted. I live in Ohio and have two teen children who got raises (one at LaRosa's and one a CiCi's) and neither place raised prices to compensate.

Grocery prices fluctuate for many reasons, minimum wage is usually not one of them.

When I worked at KI in the early 1980s, we did not get paid minimum wage. We had to work all year, April to September without calling out even once or being late once and then we got a "bonus" of the difference between what we made and minimum wage. It was a crock, but exemptions from the minimum wage in the industry are not new.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 12:09 PM
^^ Especially for an industry that could probably get away with price increases. Small businesses? Depends on the business. But it's all a slippery slope. I have a feeling some cotton candy sales might have been diverted for some campaign coffers.

*** This post was edited by janfrederick 1/3/2007 1:23:53 PM ***

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 1:51 PM
Well, this is kinda good. The way Geauga Lake is right now this would be a hard blow to the park. Plus the company can incress wages if they wanted to,
Wednesday, January 3, 2007 2:25 PM
Is Ohio's minimum wage more than the Federal? If it is I don't believe they have to increase it. If it is equal to or now less than the Federal standard they have to increase it to the Federal minimum, period. The overtime exclusion for seasonal help is another matter altogether. T
Wednesday, January 3, 2007 2:36 PM
To compensate for the Min Wage increase, companies will do one of two things to compensate:

Cut the number of hours: Either by cutting the number of hours per person, or keeping the number of hours worked per person but cutting the number of workers.

Keep the same number of PT hours, but raise prices to cover: So, prices rise, inflation rises, and suddenly the new min wage rate only buys what the old min wage rate buys. The minium wage rises, but so do prices.

I work at a college in Pennsylvania. Not taking into account any federal increases, the state of PA has increased the minium from 5.15 to 6.25 effective Jan 1. Our student workers all make minium wage. I don't know the numbers exactly, but the decree came down... The total $ paid out to student workers MUST remain the same. So each office a choice. If you have 100 student workers who each work 10 hours a week (which is about the average number of hours), your budget was $515 per week for student workers. It must stay at that, but because of the increase... but total cost for the same number of student workers at the same number of hours will now be... $625. SO... either we keep the same number of workers but have them work only 8 1/4 hours a week (in which case they will work less hours for the same amount they were making before) OR we keep each student working the same number of hours (10) but we get rid of two workers (the ones still employed will make a paltry $11 more per week, except for 2 who will make $51.50 less per week because they will no longer have jobs).

The situation gets even worse in July when the second phase of the minium wage increase in PA goes into effect which will take it over $7 per hour.

Bottom line... any minium wage increase is a BAD idea. You either create inflation or your create unemployment.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 2:53 PM

Is Ohio's minimum wage more than the Federal? If it is I don't believe they have to increase

Effective 1/1/07 Ohio's minimum wage is $6.85/hour. Simply because it is greater than the Federal $5.15 does not mean it is optional. Without special dispensation (the topic here) all employers must pay at least that much.

As I stated before, I do not agree with the idea that a raise in minimum wage has the intended affect. I also do not agree with the assertion that it is all bad. A more in-depth study of economics will show the pros and cons of the minimum wage concept. As for SLFAKE's comments about the college in PA this is unfortunate, but the fact that your school actually paid people Federal minimum speaks more of the school than the PA regulation. Even the parks that get the break we are talking here paid more than the Federal minimum in 2006.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 2:54 PM
you are mistaken.
i work at the larosas on boudinot (right across from the corporate office) and have for a number of years. i have heard from my managers that some time in the next month, we will be increasing all of our prices with the exceptions of soft drinks by 15%. this is directly related to the cost of the new minnimum wage law.

at any given time, there are 50-75 employees in my store. most of them do not make more than 6.50 an hour since they are cooks and bussers and mostly high school students. the only exception to this is the managers and the servers (who obviously make 2.35 + Tips. with the increase, larosas will be paying out an extra 100-200 dollars in labor, PER HOUR. and thats just at one store.

i expect to see increases like this all over the state and in every area, especially food service and grocery prices. the two areas where most minnimum wage workers are employed.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 2:58 PM
Which college SLFLAKE (curious). Im wondering how these PA increases will effect me, since I didn't even hear about them. Especially phase 2, considering I make JUST over 7 an hour as it is.
Wednesday, January 3, 2007 3:09 PM
You know, it's probably worth noting that the parks weren't paying minimum wage in the first place, especially when you add in the bonus.
Wednesday, January 3, 2007 3:12 PM
SpecialK141: Believe what you want, but I can assure you that price increases at LaRosa's (when they happen - no doubt on the if) are not driven purely by the raise in minimum wage. If that were the case, the prices would not have gone up since the wage was raised to $5.15 years ago.

Wages play a role in prices, without a doubt, but the increase of $0.35 per hour you mention, which by the way equates to $26.25 an hour more based upon 75 employees, is much less than say than say an increase in power costs, cheese, etc.

I am familiar with the Boudinot LaRosa's and it is the largest in the chain. Most LaRosa's are much smaller and run on fewer "full wage" hourly staff members (maybe 10-12 on a busy night). Plu, they are owned by franchisees, so corporate does not necessarily dictate wages.

Don't buy into the hype on either side. The idea that minumum wage helps poor folks is not correct, just as the idea that an increase will end the world and cause unemployment.

One important thing to note (possibly in your favor) is that when high school kids lose their jobs, this is not considered unemployment by the government or even economic purists. Kids with jobs get the shaft figuratively as their labor drives many small service businesses, but do not "count" in the big picture.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 3:41 PM
People can argue all they want about the morality or value of a minimum wage. Personally, I long for the days when we could send six-year-old kids down into coal mines and kill people for even breathing the word, 'union'. Ahh, good times. (Please note sarcasm.)

The fact is, the people of Ohio voted for this wage increase, and overwhelmingly so. They didn't vote for exemptions for any of those job categories. The General Assembly taking it upon themselves to 'interpret' the will of the people is a thumb in the collective eye of Ohioans and will only result in more of an anti-Republican backlash, come 2008. Pardon me if I engage in hyperbole, but the GOP may have just handed the Buckeye state to Hillary.

What really stinks is that Cedar Fair must have done a 'fair' amount of lobbying to get this rider into law. They own all the major, operating parks in Ohio, and nobody else has the kind of corporate muscle to push it. I love Cedar Fair, but I'm a little bit ticked about this. And I don't even work at one of the parks.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 4:03 PM
Sorry I confused you Coasterdad64:

Groceries aren't going up largely because of the minimum wage increases, yet. That will play a role in the next few months as the employees get the pay raise and the businesses have to compensate for that. Groceries went up over the last few years because the price of gas has gone up. Gasoline used to transport every single aspect of growing, processing, and delivering groceries. In the summer of 2005 I could spend $40 at Marc's and have that food last a week. This past summer I was spending $50 at the same Marc's for the same food. That's a pretty big deal when you realize that groceries have gone up %25.

And how is a %10 increase in the minimum wage is going to fix that problem? So they can afford the groceries until they go up again to compensate for the higher wages being paid?

As for the exceptions, well. I sort of have a problem with that. If the voters are going to vote for a new law or regulation, they should be enforcing that across the board.

But I reiterate, finish school, go to college, and get yourself a better paying job.

~Rob Willi

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 4:03 PM

What really stinks is that Cedar Fair must have done a 'fair' amount of lobbying to get this rider into law.

I would be curious to see what they spent on the lobby effort.

finish school, go to college, and get yourself a better paying job.

Amen to that!

Edited to add comment to Rob

*** This post was edited by CoasterDad64 1/3/2007 4:06:11 PM ***


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