Youth delegates anxious to speakAround 50 youth delegates are among the 240 Superior Days representatives traveling to Madison
By: By DANIELLE KAEDING/Wisconsin Public Radio, The Daily Telegram
Around 50 youth delegates are among the 240 Superior Days representatives traveling to Madison to make their voices heard at Superior Days Tuesday and Wednesday. UW-Extension Community Youth Educator Joan Wimme said minimum wage reform is a top priority among young people throughout the region.
“They have work-related expenses: gas, uniforms, clothing, all those sorts of things they pay the same amount for,” she said. “They’re wondering whether or not the general minimum wage rate or the tipped employee minimum wage rate for minor employees (should) be raised to the same level as adult employees.”
Eighteen year-old youth delegate Angel Petite of Ashland hopes to send a message of fairness to legislators in her first trip to Superior Days.
“We do the same job as adults and should be allowed to be paid the same amount,” Petite said.
She can only think of a couple reasons why wages are different for minors and adults.
“Because they can get away with it,” she said, “also because it’s less likely or shown to be less likely that teenagers will stick with the same job. So maybe they feel like they shouldn’t invest as much into them if they’re not going to stay with them.”
Wimme said Superior Days provides a chance to prove it’s important to invest in the younger crowd.
“Just being able to have youth provide their input so even locally people understand what’s important to you. We need to be recognizing that they are an important resource as well as an asset in all of our communities,” she said.