The Bulletin

Newsboys, shoe-shiners and doormen will now have to be paid at least minimum wage

By: - March 13, 2019 12:25 pm
Virginia Mercury

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.

Starting July 1, newsboys, people who shine shoes, babysitters, ushers, doormen, concession attendants and theater cashiers will be required to be paid minimum wage.

Gov. Ralph Northam signed the legislation into law Friday. Del. Cia Price, D-Newport News, and Sen. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, carried identical bills in their respective chambers this session.

The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy said the positions named in the legislation have historically been held by black people and called the law exempting them from minimum wage racist.

“It’s clear that this law was put into place to keep African-American Virginians from advancing,” Spruill told Capital News Service. “Hardworking Virginians deserve wage protections, regardless of the job that they do. I am proud to champion this long overdue legislation and to witness its bipartisan passage in the General Assembly.”

The final version of the Senate bill passed unanimously in the chamber and 84-14 in the House.

“This bill removes government-sanctioned discrimination based on someone’s job title,” Benjamin Hoyne, policy director for the Virginia Interfaith Center, said in a news release. “This is a great victory for workers in our Commonwealth.”

Virginia’s law still allows some positions to be paid less than minimum wage, including farm workers, children under 18 who work for their parents and state prisoners.

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Mechelle Hankerson
Mechelle Hankerson

Mechelle, born and raised in Virginia Beach, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in mass communications and a concentration in print journalism. She covered the General Assembly for the university’s Capital News Service and was among 12 student journalists in swing states selected by the Washington Post to cover the 2012 presidential election. For the past five years, she has covered local government, crime, housing, infrastructure and other issues at the Raleigh News & Observer and The Virginian-Pilot, where she most recently covered the state’s biggest city, Virginia Beach. Mechelle was with the Virginia Mercury until January 3rd, 2019.