Entries Tagged 'Employment' ↓

Let’s get serious about workforce development


Yesterday at the Sioux Falls City council informational meeting, Darrin Smith did a presentation on the $500K the city will be granting to businesses to recruit workers. Some interesting points he made;

1) He said employers are telling him they are having trouble recruiting workers in the $20 an hour an lower range.

2) He said recently in Sioux Falls there was 2,300 available openings and in the same period 3,800 people applied for unemployment.

Am I the only one that sees the correlation here? I think some people would just rather draw unemployment then work for a low wage.

I think to put some teeth in this grant process the city should require anyone seeking the recruitment money that they pay market scale-living wages. In other words $16 an hour or higher.

I also think for every dollar a business gets in grant money they should roll over as a bonus to employees that get recruited and stay with the company over one year. In other words, if Company A receives $5000 from the city in grant money, and they hire 5 people that stay with the company for over a year, each employee would receive a $1000 bonus.

We can recruit low wage employees until the cows come home, but it doesn’t have much of an affect on our local economy and is really just a waste of tax dollars.


Should elected officials be drug tested?


Before I get smoking on this post, I will say I don’t think anyone should be drug tested unless you are working in public safety, trucking or other jobs where safety can be compromised. I think people should be judged on their accomplishments and experience.

That being said, I have often wondered why lawmakers require public employees, and some have even suggested welfare recipients, to be drug tested when they are not? I thought about this the other day after turning in my resume for the county commission seat.

What do you think? Should we drug test elected officials before they are sworn into office? Or better yet, drug test them when they turn their petitions in for candidacy?

Hey, what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.

Wage increase for tipped employees takes effect January 1st


­While most would be happy with a $2 an hour raise, it really doesn’t address the bigger issue of employers paying employees fairly. While I supported a minimum wage increase for hourly folks, I didn’t like the portion of the law that doubles tipped employees wages from $2.13 to $4.25.


It doesn’t address the bigger issue of tipped employees paying non-tipped employees. What most diners don’t realize is that restaurants in South Dakota can force tipped employees to give a portion (10-25%) of their tips to non-tipped employees (bussers, cooks, dishwashers, hosts). Of course no employer really forces you to do this, but they do sucker you into signing an agreement that you will, or they won’t hire you. While a $2 an hour raise will help a lot of full-time servers (even though many restaurants already pay more then $4 an hour to tipped employees) we are still stuck paying other employees from our tips when this should be the business’ responsibility.

I would have liked to seen a provision in the law eliminating the tip share option for tipped employees, forcing employers to pay their non-tipped staff more instead putting it on the backs of their tipped employees.

While I only work about 10 hours a week serving nowadays, when I worked full-time a couple of years ago I tipped out $4,500 in one year (these are tips I EARNED given directly to me from customers I served). In that same period of time, let’s say I was making that extra $2 an hour, that only adds up to $4,160 before taxes.

Eliminating the tip share would be more beneficial to tipped employees then any silly $2 an hour raise.

Furthermore, the media will have a feeding frenzy about how tipped employees are now making double of what they did before (not really), so the unintended consequences will be people tipping less while giving restaurants an excuse to raise meal prices.

Want to get ahead in Sioux Falls? Work multiple jobs.

The irony of this story, was just to hard to resist:

So Drew came up with a crazy plan to pay off the debt as soon as possible and that involved him taking on not just a second job, but a third–putting in an average of 70 to 80 hours a week.

“My friends joke, ‘How many jobs do you have now Drew?’ Also did—house sat for people, dog sat, gave plasma, sold stuff,” Drew said.

Stacey stocked retail shelves nights and weekends and there were no dinners out or other luxuries.

So, as you can see, if you want to live the American dream, you must eliminate fun and work like a dog, or at least sit a dog or sell some bodily fluids.

Wages in Sioux Falls

During the financial report last Tuesday at the Sioux Falls city council informational meeting, councilor Staggers asked Tracy Turbak after he told us about the glowing unemployment rate in Sioux Falls what wages were like in Sioux Falls. Turbak of course says he doesn’t keep that kind of data (yeah right), but told Dr. Staggers he was welcome to check the South Dakota Department of Labor Statistics.

During the course of the meeting, councilor Erickson did some googling on her I-Pad and reported that the average median household income in Sioux Falls was $50,700 a year. Now let’s remember what this means, this is ‘household’ income, NOT, ‘personal individual income’. Big difference.

That aside, it got me to googling today. I cross referenced many different national websites and statistics, too many to link and after collecting data nationally, statewide and city wide on cost of living, etc. My educated guess is that the average individual worker in Sioux Falls must make at least $16.00 an hour to make a ‘living wage’ which comes to $33,280 a year. It varies in different parts of the country ($15-$20 per hour), but for a city our size, that is the closest. Now remember, my definition of a living wage is ‘covering expenses’ there is no wiggle room their for ‘extras’ like a recreational vehicles, vacations, or even basic entertainment.

It is believed that 53% of American workers make less then a living wage, we are a little bit better then that in Sioux Falls, and we will get to that in a moment.

After figuring out what a living wage in Sioux Falls should look like, I followed the SD Department of Labor MSA statistics on Sioux Falls (these are end of 2013 numbers)

Sioux Falls had 140,000 workers in 2013

42% of them made under a living wage (59,000) but what was even more shocking was that almost half of them (27,000) made 50% of the living wage or below ($16,640) per year.

Who makes the lowest wages in Sioux Falls? You probably already guessed it. In a town that loves to brag about all the great restaurants we have in town, most of the poverty wages come from the hospitality industry.

I was glad to see that we are below the national average, but I do believe Sioux Falls has a lot of work to do when it comes to wages. There is a reason our food banks are handing out food at a record level and that almost half of the kids in our school district are on FREE or reduced lunches. Low unemployment is one thing, but higher wages contribute to a better quality of life.

Shortage of professional jobs in Sioux Falls?

I didn’t find this story surprising, but just a reminder that there are not a lot of ‘professional management’ jobs in Sioux Falls (this person actually had to go to a corn field in Iowa to get that kind of job). I hear it a lot from friends with college degrees, people are not hiring professionals, and if they are, the wages are not there or the hours don’t match the salary.

She freshened up her resume, sent out numerous cover letters to countless companies and left no website unturned.  She was expecting a relatively low-maintenance process, given the Sioux Falls job market continues to thrive and outshine many similarly-sized cities across the nation.  According to the South Dakota Department of Labor, Sioux Falls’ unemployment rate currently sits at 3.1 percent.  Despite the low number, Orsack quickly learned not everyone finds the job they are looking for.

“I just came to learn it was very difficult to get anyone’s attention and to get a call back, to get an interview,” Orsack said.  “It felt like when they saw Las Vegas as my home address, they didn’t want to try because I wasn’t technically in Sioux Falls yet.”

The companies that did get back to her would not fly her in for an interview unless she footed the bill.  Faced with few job prospects, and positions that would bring severe pay cuts, Orsack felt exhausted and unwanted.

“I wanted to get home, and when you sit and you wait for months on months to figure out if you’re even going to get an interview for a job, it feels like you don’t have it,” Orsack said.

What I often see is that local companies try to get by with hiring fewer professionals (to save wages) and stretch the resources of their lower paid and qualified employees to the max.

Companies in Sioux Falls are not here, or didn’t come here to pay ‘high wages’ and to ‘hire’ multitudes of professionals. That is not how SD or SF recruits companies. CHEAP LABOR!

Doesn’t surprise me the runaround this person got. Had a friend looking to move back to Sioux Falls after going to college in Texas. She had trouble getting interviews because #1. She had an Austin, Texas address and #2. Though she grew up in Sioux Falls, and is very much white, she has an African American name (First and Last) and she didn’t start getting interviews and callbacks until she started putting her photo on her resumes, she joked, “Almost instantly.” And it’s not like she was a schlump, she was on her college’s honor roll in her field of study. She eventually got a decent job at an international  agri-business company, the pay and bonuses were good, but they also expected her to work 50-60 hours a week on a 40 hour a week salary.

She moved back to Texas. The only positive experience she had while living in Sioux Falls was buying a house here on foreclosure, fixing it up and using it as a rental for extra revenue.

Sioux Falls needs to make a decision. Do we want to continue to be the wasteland of call centers and low-paying professional jobs, or do we want to start sharing the wealth with the hardworking South Dakotans? The mayor can continue to talk about the low unemployment and high building permit numbers all he wants, but I wouldn’t consider these ‘Big Wins’ or ‘Successes’ until about 99% of the workforce in this community are benefitting, otherwise, it is just more smoke and mirrors from the administration.

DooGard proves he is just as anti-labor as Rounds, if not more

Amazes me that a guy who has held several ‘odd jobs’ is all for this;

State workers lost round one Wednesday in their effort to derail a proposed rule change that will eliminate the appeals process for an employee who is laid off.

The Career Services Commission - a board of citizens appointed by the governor – approved the rule change, among others, on a 3-1 vote.

While I question the appeals process, I would have to agree with this state worker;

“That’s why people come to state or federal government, because there is some job security. They don’t work for the state for the wages,” he said.

He is right, while state jobs don’t always pay good, they do have some benefits. It is unfortunate that the rest of South Dakotans don’t have the same rights as state workers. We are a right to work state, we can be fired for any reason. I think all workers should have some recourse. This move isn’t about state workers, it is about worker’s rights in general and a movement across the nation to strip ALL workers, private, public, of their rights.


Ironic Johnny continues to be a ‘Bunning’ on the issue of the EFCA

Give it a rest already John;

WASHINGTON – With the Obama administration promoting efforts to unionize workplaces, Sen. John Thune warned business leaders Tuesday that they should be ready to mobilize against congressional efforts to help labor groups organize employees.

“We cannot let up. We have to be vigilant. We’ve got to stay on this issue. This is organized labor’s No. 1 priority,” the South Dakota Republican said to about 250 business and chamber representatives from eight states attending a U.S. Chamber of Commerce conference. “We have to defeat this. … We have to be prepared because this could happen on very short notice.”

Why should we defeat this? Because it might require South Dakotans to have the chance to make better wages? It is blatantly obvious that Thune has his head shoved up the ass of corporate interests, Hell he worked as a lobbyist before running for Senate, and once he got in the Senate the first thing he tried to do is give his pal the biggest Federal Loan in the history of our country to a private industry. When are we gonna wakeup and realize this guy is a fraud?

“Chamber of Commerce people seem to think that if you keep giving money to corporations, that will fix the country,” said Mark Anderson, president of the South Dakota State Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

Well, Mark, they are the largest lobbyist group in DC. Remember, Washington, and our very own golden boy, Ironic Johnny, only respond to cold hard cash. And the working class of South Dakota certainly are not sending it John’s way. He knows who he works for . . .

“This is a black-and-white issue, and we need to keep it that way,” Thune said.

I agree John, it is black-and-white, so why are you painting it red?

Can I get a tax credit to?

I’m all about tax credits to employers, but why give tax credits to employers that are hiring low wage jobs?

Federal income tax credits are now available to South Dakota employers who hire unemployed military veterans or young adults who aren’t attending school or working.

I think the tax credits should come with some kind of guarantee the employer will pay above scale after a 90 day review. I see this as a way for employers to not only save money on taxes but save money on wages. Why are we rewarding employers who pay low wages? Only in South Dakota!

To qualify, veterans must have served on active duty and been discharged or released and received unemployment payments for at least four weeks.

The disconnected youth are people between 16 and 24 years old who lack basic skills. Employers can save up to $2,400 in tax credits by hiring people who qualify.

Other target groups include welfare recipients, veterans, ex-felons and food stamp recipients.

And we should be surprised that employers oppose the Employee Free Choice Act.