Kathy Tyler reflects on this idea in her latest blog post:
The influence of unions has declined over the years as working conditions and wages have improved. But in my research, one of the things that kept popping up was the growing divide between the upper and lower income groups and the increasing number of families that can’t make a living on their current wages and the increase in the number of jobs that do not provide a living wage. Will unions have a comeback because of these issues? I have no idea, but we must recognize their importance in our past and what they accomplished for workers in our country. If it weren’t for the laborers and the ‘little people’, where would we be?We, the little people, are having a tougher time getting ahead. The game continues to seem rigged for the big businesses and those in government that they can buy. Many in the GOP see the idea of solving unemployment by letting businesses offer wages at any rate, seven dollars an hour, four dollars an hour, or two dollars an hour. The Rapid City Journal reminds us about this mindset that people like Dennis Daugaard, Mike Rounds, and Kristi Noem have fully accepted.
Today the Rapid City Journal talked about the problem that many businesses in Rapid City finding workers. An issue that Daugaard thinks can be solved by begging people to come here without offering better wages. The article points to part of the problem that businesses have in finding quality workers: low wages.
According to the national Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recent wage data from May 2013, South Dakota ranks second-to-last in average hourly wages, ahead of only Mississippi.
A debate over wages in South Dakota is looming. In November, voters will consider a ballot initiative seeking to raise the state's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 plus annual cost-of-living increases.
Raising the minimum wage in South Dakota will benefit many in this state. It is a way of respecting all the people that labor day in and day out. We need to remember this in November and vote for Initiated Measure 18.