HF 192, another conservative policy that fails Minnesota


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.

3 thoughts on “HF 192, another conservative policy that fails Minnesota

  1. As it stands, prospective teachers in Minnesota are required by law to pay an “Agency Fee” to teachers’ unions so that the union can negoitiate their contracts. Often times these contracts severly tie the hands of motivated and passionate teachers.

    I do not want to have as part of my employement contract clauses which limit the amount of prep time I can have per lecture. I care about my future students and may well want to prep more than is allowed by the contract. (This is only one greivance with the contract; there are many more.)

    The point is if anyone wishes to join a union that is fine with me and they will still be able to. However, for those who do not wish to join a union (or pay agency fees) for legitimate non-political reasons like the teacher-first rather than student-first aspects of the teachers’ contract they ought to be able to decline to join or fund such a union.

    A law requiring someone to join/fund a group which they disagree with in order to be hired (even when the employer does not care whether the employee has joined such a group) is an affront to personal liberty and common sense. Moreover, this isn’t political at all; it is common sense. I have both liberal and conservative friends in the Teach for America program who are equally disheartened and disgusted by the union contracts.

    A policy which handicaps motivated teachers but perpetuating the union contract is a policy that fails Minnesota. HF 192 undoes that.

  2. No one is limiting your prep time. The contracts guarantee a minimum floor of paid time that management must provide you for each lecture period. You do not have to join MEA but you do have to pay your fair share of the dues. (If you as a member are unhappy with a political position taken by your local you do have the option of A. attending meetings to object and B. Proposing alternative positions. (Political contributions are usually separately funded by voluntary member contributions through PACs.

    If you don’t like an element of the contract GET INVOLVED and work for change.

  3. The point still remains, why force someone to join a union?

    I don’t force you to join my Church, to shop at certain stores, to fund certain projects, to buy certain foods, to join the Boy Scouts, to sign my petition, etc.

    I can concede the entire point that the teachers’ unions are suspect; suppose they are just fine. But, the point remains! If I don’t want to join something, no one is allowed to force me to join it even it is is completely harmless.

    Forcing someone to do so violates one’s right to freedom, one’s human dignity, and common sense whether it is joining a union or joining something as innocuous as the Boy Scouts.

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