Minnesota Next on Union-Busting Bandwagon? State Senator Introducing "Employee Freedom Act"

Minnesota Republicans are looking to be make their state the next to take a swipe at working people's rights, as State Senator Dave Thompson is introducing a bill to amend the state constitution that he's calling the "Employee Freedom Act."

Like the misleadingly-named "Right-To-Work" (for less) bill making its way through Indiana's state legislature right now, Thompson's bill would defund unions by requiring them to represent workers who opt out of joining and paying dues. 

The Northfield Patch reported:

Shar Knutson, who heads the state's AFL-CIO, told MinnPost that she isn't surprised by Thompson's bill.

"What we saw today is identical to what we've seen in Ohio and Wisconsin," she told MinnPost. "This is a national effort being pushed by corporate interests."

Union leaders also told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press


They also said the proposed constitutional amendment mimics legislation being brought to statehouses across the nation by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization liberal interest groups claim is pushing corporate-backed bills across the nation.

"Don't be fooled, 'right to work' is not about choice. It is a cynical back-door strategy to weaken unions financially so they can no longer provide effective workplace protections to hardworking employees," said Jim Monroe, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees.

If it passes the heavily GOP-dominated legislature, the bill would wind up on the ballot in November for voters to decide on, along with another measure already passed that opposes gay marriage. And Senator Thompson insists he's willing to lose his seat in order to ensure the amendment goes through. 

"I'm here to do what I believe is right," he told reporters. "If that costs me an election in November, so be it."


AlterNet / By Sarah Jaffe

Posted at January 30, 2012, 10:22am

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