Pop Quiz


Welcome to the first ever YES! Weekly Pop Quiz, where we ask politicians and public servants questions about their jobs. This week we called the two remaining Democratic candidates for state labor commissioner. The rules are simple: The candidate must answer immediately – no research, no callbacks.


1) What is the minimum wage in North Carolina, and what will it change to when it is increased on July 24?

2) How many workplace fatalities have happened in North Carolina so far in fiscal year 2008, that is from October 2007 through May 2008?

3) Multiple choice: Which category of accident killed the most workers during that time span?

(a) Crushed by object

(b) Electrocution

(c) Fire/explosion

(d) Falls

(e) Struck by object

(f) Other

4) What was the wage and hour bureau’s rate of resolution for complaints about nonpayment of wages in fiscal year 2005 compared to fiscal year 2007?

John Brooks

1) It’ll go up to $6.55 on July 24 because the federal minimum wage goes up to that and we have a law in North Carolina that says when the federal wage goes up, ours does too. Right now, the state minimum wage is $5.85. (Partial credit)

2) I have no idea. Way too many. I know there are between 700,000 and 800,000 unclosed claims for workers’ compensation, which is an incredible number. But I haven’t been at the Department of Labor for 15 years, so I would have no idea how many fatalities there are. (Wrong)

3) I would have no way of knowing. (Wrong)

4) I have no way of knowing. I could ask them for that information, but I haven’t looked at the figures in years. (Wrong)

Mary Fant Donnan

1) Right now the current minimum wage is $5.15. It’ll go to $6.25 when it changes. (Wrong)

2) I don’t know. I haven’t looked at thosenumbers. (Wrong)

3) I’m struggling between struck by object and crushed by object because I don’t know how they’re different. With the increase in cell phone tower construction, I know we’ve had more falls. I guess I’ll go with a combination of crushed and struck by object. (Partial credit)

4) I haven’t looked at the real numbers. They’ve been saying they collect 100 percent of what they assess, but they’re using a different kind of definition. I don’t know what the real numbers are. (Wrong)


1) $6.15, $6.55

2) 30

3) Falls

4) 62.9 percent in 2005 and 55.8 percent in 2007