Senators Tune-out Voices of 1,600 workers calling for a “No” Vote on, Right to Work

St. Paul – Sixteen-hundred workers descended on the Minnesota State Capitol today (March 12,)  filling the hallways surrounding state capitol building hearing room, to call on lawmakers to vote “No” on the proposed unfair, unsafe and unnecessary Right to Work constitutional amendment.

Despite this large turnout of working Minnesotans, and solid bi-partisan testimony against such a measure, the Senate Judiciary & Public Safety Committee voted on a razor-thin vote of 7-6 to push the measure closer to being placed on the fall ballot. Only one Republican joined committee DFLers in opposing this harmful measure.

Those testifying against the bill represented working people from across the state,  Testifiers— some of whom are also SEIU MN members –included Republicans, Democrats, Independents, public safety professionals, business owners, skilled construction workers, teachers, and nurses.

This bill is not what its supporters claim it is. Plain and simple, it isn’t a right to work measure at all. In fact, it’s the right to hurt workers, our state’s economy, and the middle-class. If this should pass it would weaken workers’ rights, result in tens of thousands of lost jobs and lower wages.

Going forward, Minnesota’s Labor movement—including SEIU Minnesota—has committed to continually turning out to oppose this amendment anytime and anywhere it is being considered. Why? Because it is wrong for working Minnesotans and puts our families at risk while, at the same time, gives greedy CEOs the power to make decisions to maximize corporate profits at the expense of the 99%

If it were to pass the full House and Senate, voters in November would decide whether Minnesota’s Constitution should be amended to make membership voluntary in private and public unions. Membership is not compulsory under current law.

Before the full committee room emptied out after the hearing, workers gathered in the hallways of the capitol building were heard shouting, “We’ll be back!”
Here are some facts to consider:
  • Minnesota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Independent experts say that this RTW law could lead to tens of thousands of layoffs in Minnesota.
  • The strongest sector of Minnesota’s economy over the past year has been manufacturing. Since other states have passed such a measure, they have lost as much as one-third of their manufacturing jobs.
  • Forbes magazine ranked Minnesota as having the third best quality of life in the country. Yet, 20% of residents of Texas and Florida, where RTW passed, do not have health insurance compared to 8% of Minnesotans. And, their wage earnings are far less too!
  • Many of these measures have flared in state Capitols around the country in the last two years as many Republicans continue their push to weaken union strength.

Watch SEIU Local 26 President, Javier Morillo-Alicea, argue against a so called “Right to Work” amendment on Twin Cities Fox 9

Watch the latest TV ad about the push for “Right to Work” in Minnesota.

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