2011-12 Legislative Session a, “Do Harm” Session led by Anti-worker GOP Majority

St. Paul, MN— While many critics characterized the just-ended legislative session as a, “Do Nothing” session, SEIU is calling this a, “Do Harm” session.  The 11th hour flurry of activity in support of Governor Dayton’s priorities is only part of the truth about this session’s underwhelming accomplishments when taken as a whole. It was the GOP’s last-ditch effort to erase the memory of their repeated stonewalling on issues important to most Minnesotans.

“The attacks on middle-class workers this legislative session has been relentless,” says SEIU’s Julie Schnell, president of Healthcare Minnesota. “The Republican-led legislature has spent much of its time this past legislative session—even surpassing its targeted timeframe and budget per diem allotments— to go after hard-working Minnesotans with bill-after-harmful bill,” she adds.

  • A Proposed “Right to Work” state constitutional amendment that would have done harm to not only workers in Minnesota but also to our state’s overall economy;
  • Numerous bills that continued divisive Wisconsin style attacks on collective bargaining and undermining workers’ ability to have a voice on the job;
  • Stalling all attempts, until the 11th hour, by the governor to pass a jobs creation bonding bill—and then handing over a very watered-down version that will create fewer jobs than hoped for and improve less of Minnesota’s infrastructure than our state needs.
  • A series of Bills intended to benefit the health insurance industry and weaken working Minnesotans’ access to affordable, quality healthcare;

In addition to drafting harmful legislation, the GOP used the courts to block in-home child care providers from even being able to vote on whether or not they wish to form a union so that they could better advocate for children and families as well as improve work-related training.

SEIU Minnesota also has joined many other groups advocating on behalf of middle-class Minnesotans to oppose other harmful public policies.  “Other attacks have included shifting much-needed school funding for even more corporate tax loopholes benefitting corporations and the greedy 1%,” adds Carol Nieters, executive director of SEIU Local 284—a union of education and support staff.

Other divisive and harmful legislative actions have included passage of a voter ID constitutional amendment— harmful to thousands of Minnesotans—and large-scale funding in support of an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment that’s harmful to our state’s LGBT persons and their families who deserve fair and equal treatment by accessing benefits such as health care for spouses.

“It has most certainly been true that it’s been a Do Harm session when you consider the amount of time and energy spent on tearing down workers, working against jobs creation in order to advance partisan agendas and campaigning for constitutional amendments that would shred the very fabric of our state’s diversity and proud inclusivity that makes Minnesota a desirable and livable state that’s strong economically, socially and culturally,” adds, Javier Morillo president of SEIU Local 26.

SEIU Minnesota maintains that this election year, voters will make wise choices in electing pro-worker legislators who will finally make it a priority to create jobs and foster a more fair economy by ensuring the richest 1% pay their fair share in taxes just as the rest of us do.

In the news

Workday Minnesota offers their thoughts on the legislative session

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SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, childcare, and the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings.  The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their collective bargaining and new member organizing campaigns.  By building the political involvement of approximately 30,000 SEIU members throughout the state, the State Council is working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans.  The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, members, and staff of the four SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota.

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