Minnesota the Next State to Go "No Rights at Work"?

The war on workers just keeps on coming. The next state facing a so-called "right to work" law, which would defund labor unions by allowing workers to access the protections of the union without paying fair representation costs, appears to be Minnesota. 

Today, as the state Senate Judiciary Committee debated and passed the bill with a 7-6 vote, commentators from the state evoked Madison's massive pro-labor protests when writing about the response from the people. "'Just vote no!' and 'Hey, hey, ho, ho, attacks on workers have to go!' echoed through the Capitol corridors Monday morning as an estimated 1,000 members and friends of labor unions chanted their disdain. . ." wrote one, at the Star Tribune; another, at the Pioneer Press, noted "Hundreds of unionized workers filled the Minnesota Capitol today, preparing for battle as a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it harder for unions to organize gets its first legislative hearing.

It is unclear whether the bill will actually pass. Despite a current Republican majority, the bill didn't even make it out of committee with all the Republicans on board, and according to the Woodbury Bulletin, even business leaders aren't thrilled: 

While Republicans often enjoy support from business leaders, even those organizations are not jumping on board. Jim Pumarlo, a spokesman for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, said the organization will not take a stance on right to work.

David Ross, president the Duluth Chamber of Commerce, said his organization also has not officially weighed in. But he acknowledged in an interview that he has concerns about whether passing the bill is worth the rancor it likely would cause, at least based on similar measures discussed recently in Wisconsin, Indiana and other states.

“I’m not seeing tangible illustration of much upside in the middle of the tumult,” Ross said.

The Uptake provided live streaming video throughout the hearings--you can watch the pro-union testimony below. 

Watch live streaming video from theuptake2 at livestream.com

AlterNet / By Sarah Jaffe | Sourced from

Posted at March 12, 2012, 11:51am

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