The Democratic Party plans a campaign to refer the youth minimum wage law to the ballot, Chairwoman Ann Tornberg said. Teamsters Local 120 also plans to join the campaign, which requires activists to secure 13,871 signatures from registered South Dakota voters and submit them to the secretary of state’s office by June 29 to put the issue on the 2016 ballot.
The state’s AFL-CIO union is expected to join the fight, but Mark Anderson, president and financial secretary, said last week the organization needs to take an official position. Anderson didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday.
Liberal activist Cory Heidelberger already filed a petition in late March to begin such a campaign [James Nord, “SD Democrats, Labor Will Work to Block Youth Minimum Wage Law,” AP via Sioux City Journal, 2015.04.06].
Many volunteers around South Dakota have already been circulating petitions for a full week to challenge Senator David Novstrup’s effort to cut the minimum wage for young workers. These volunteers recognize that Senator Novstrup is attacking the initiative process as much as he is attacking young workers. Volunteers have also been petitioning against Senate Bill 69, which in every provision makes it harder for people to run for office and for voters to have choices on their ballots. These volunteers recognize that both bills threaten democracy.
We should all take heart that the South Dakota Democratic Party and the Teamsters recognize the threat to democracy posed by the youth minimum wage. Let us hope they recognize that same threat in Senate Bill 69 and help carry both referendum petitions.