SEIU tears apart budget deal, calls compromise ‘irresponsible’


The State Employees International Union’s Healthcare Minnesota and Minnesota State Council came out against the budget deal Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders reached Thursday.

As Dayton and the Legislature work to complete the budget and call a special session Monday to end the shutdown, SEIU released a statement decrying the compromise.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and SEIU Minnesota State Council President Julie Schnell said the union does not believe Dayton should have given ”in to the demands of the GOP leadership, who have refused to negotiate in good faith, and who would use the state’s children, middle class and working families as a human shield to protect 7,700 multi-millionaires from having to share any of the burden of the state’s fiscal problems, resulting from the past eight years of shifts and gimmicks under Tim Pawlenty.”

SEIU Local 284 Executive Director Carol Nieters said it’s “irresponsible” for the state to put its budget difficulties on its children.

“In these tough economic times, borrowing from our schools is just a cut by another name,” Nieters said in a statement. “What this means for our children is simple: class sizes will rise, programs will be cut, achievement will suffer, and more districts will look to raise property tax levies just to keep the doors open – taxes borne disproportionately by all of us so that multi-millionaires can avoid paying their fair share.”

The union has more than 30,000 workers around the state.

Another union, AFSCME Minnesota Council 5, said in a press release that the budget is “not a deal until it’s done.”

“Until [the Legislature passes the bills without changes], we continue our work to make sure we help achieve the best deal possible,” a statement on AFSCME’s website said. “Our phone banks continue, our rallies continue, our shutdown actions continue. Until we see the details of the actual budget bills, there is nothing solid to comment on, so we will have no comment.”

According to the Memorandum of Understanding between the state, AFSCME and other state employee unions, laid-off employees will be called back to the same job they held before the shutdown, the site said. Employees will receive a written, oral or electronic recall notice and, once they receive the notice, they must report back to work within three working days of the recall date.

Meanwhile Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton said in a statement that “it is those most disappointed with the governor who will benefit most from his decision to accept Republican terms for a budget framework.”

Sutton added Dayton’s plan to increase taxes on the rich would “hurt most the people he wants to help by killing jobs and opportunities.”

“It’s a good day for Minnesota with the promise of better days ahead,” Sutton said at the end of the statement.