This morning, a Minnesota State House of Representatives committee considers HF 192. Sponsored by State Representative Keith Downey (R-Edina), this bill is an all-out attack on Minnesota’s working families. It strips many worker protection measures and turns Minnesota into a “Right to Work” state.
“Right to work” doesn’t actually mean the right to work. It means using the force of law to bust unions and lower working families’ standard of living. The term “right to work” is an old conservative rhetorical dodge. It masks a policy’s true intent by suggesting the opposite.
Since the average worker’s wage in “right to work” states is $5500 lower than in non-right to work states, the negative impact on Minnesota, if HF 192 passes, is pretty clear. Our economy, already shakey and underperforming, will fall further and harder. It means more small, community businesses will fail, as will some larger businesses. Working families, having less money, will spend less. That shrinks rather than grows Minnesota’s financial marketplace.
HF 192 proposes a lot of anti-Minnesota changes; “right to work” is only one. This bill will unilaterally reduce the state workforce without considering which programs should be cut or reduced. It will unilaterally proscribe and limit future state worker pay. It lets us see, all too clearly, conservative public policy priorities in play.
Given the opportunity to follow through on electoral promises to create jobs and get Minnesota’s economy moving again, conservative state lawmakers are taking an entirely different tack. They’re not interested in Minnesota’s families. They’re working diligently to protect Minnesota’s wealthiest income earners at the expense of the other 98 percent of Minnesotans.
Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson says it best. “Why on earth would legislators want to put even more middle class Minnesotans out of work and then turn around and ask everyone to work for less? This is yet another bill forcing middle class families to sacrifice for the benefit of a wealthy few.”
HF192 fails Minnesota. It would move us backwards, not ahead.