Thousands Of Union Workers Rally Against ‘Right To Work’

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — More than a thousand union workers will rally at the State Capitol Tuesday for what appears to be a victory celebration.

They’ve been fighting a proposed amendment that would weaken unions in the state.

It’s called the “Right to Work” bill and it lets workers decide on their own if they want to join a union and pay dues.

Opponents to the amendment think they’ve won the battle.

Representatives of AFSCME, who held the rally, say they’re still concerned this issue could wind up on the ballot in November.

They say it’s not a victory lap but a strong message to lawmakers that they don’t want to see this measure go to a vote.

“Anything can happen and we’ve seen that happen before,” said Eliot Seide, executive director of AFSCME. “We’ve gotta make sure that this bill, which is bad for Minnesota, which is unsafe, unfair and unnecessary for Minnesota, does not come out for a vote.”

The measure has stalled in the past and Republican leaders say they don’t intend on bringing it to a vote this session.

Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, who authored the bill said he’s disappointed and feels that his colleagues feel pressured that by putting this to a vote it would generate a large union turnout at the polls, hurting republicans.

“I’m talking about the fact that the Republicans have the opportunity to move this forward and we aren’t doing it,” Thompson said. “And nobody’s been able to make an argument that they don’t believe this is the right thing. And I don’t believe we should govern from a position of fear.”

More than 1,100 union members that are apart of this rally will later be marching to talk with their representatives to voice their opposition against the Right to Work amendment as well as the Voter ID amendment.

More from Holly Wagner
  • say wha'

    Hard to understand how people can be convinced to protest having the right to decide for themselves if they want to join a union or not. After all, we haven’t had a sweat shop around here in, what, weeks now.

    I guess “peoples is crazy.”

    • Matt

      Just because you ar ein a union doesn’t mean you are lazy, don’t have skills or put effort into your job. stop being a bigot, Betty Bigot.

  • Fred

    What’s the kool-aid of the week this week for those brain-washed union folk?

    • rentacop

      Brain washed union folk ?? I retired at 52 with a pension and benefits. I’ve already received more in pension checks than I ever paid in union dues. How’s your future looking. Good luck with your retirement package.

      • RealLabor

        Great, so you are one of the privileged, protected from hard work and getting fired for being incompetent by the almighty UNION, and now getting money you didn’t earn, driving the system into deep debt. Do you ever think about the fact that your “free ride” will be paid for, along with interest, by your children and your grand-children? Money not earned is stolen, enjoy spending all that tainted money your descendent’s will somehow have to figure a way to pay back on your behalf. You get a silver spoon retirement while they get the bill, are you really proud of that? When it comes to “Producers” or “Takers”, we know to which club you belong.

      • J

        Maybe that is the reason cities, counties and states are going broke. No reason to retire at 52 unless there is a dissability. Getting more than you paid in? That is unsubstanable. Hope you have a plan “B”.

        • rentacop

          Mine is a private union. I’m NOT in favor of public unions, okay ? You haven’t contributed a dime to my retirement so you don’t have to worry. I don’t need a plan B, my pension check is guaranteed for life.

        • rentacop

          RE: “J” by the way mr. J, since I retired I’ve done more volunteer work than you can ever think of doing. I volunteer as driver for the cancer society, I volunteer at our local food shelf, I volunteer at our church 10 hours a week and on and on and on. If you think I’m laying around in a lazy boy drinking beer you are very wrong. Next week I’m doing some volunteer work for the MN DNR also

          • Betty B.

            again wrong rentacop…volunteering 10 hours to smoke out back of church isn’t really doing public service. Just l like your power-trip job. You are directly responsible for the terrible relationship between poor people of color and the police. There is a special place in hell for you…have nice day!

            • rentacop

              Betty B. Thanks for the good laugh. You don’t have a clue what I do with my volunteer hours. By the way I don’t smoke. I’d like you to ride with me when I take a cancer patient for their treatment. I’d also like you to help me clean toilets at our church and vacuum the Sanctuary every week. Maybe you are one of the food shelf customers I seee every week.

              • frozenrunner

                I can only make it this far down the board. It is a sad commentary the hate that gets spread on the board. See the Sea Salt article. The sad people that are ripping on you is not worth the time spent responding. It would appear they have to hate somebody. Today it is you. Keep up the good work.

                • Citizen

                  Amen, frozenrunner. Even after I contacted WCCO about this, they don’t seem to have adjusted their WordPress program or monitored the comment boards any better than before. They just don’t care. In fact, I think ‘CCO likes the fact that people come on the site to read the nasty comments–gets the number of hits up so they can justify ad revenue. Take care.

          • BB

            Don’t bother trying to reason with these people as they are not really well educated about unions and your have to understand their ignorance. No sense in trying to explain what they have not the education to understand. Their only education comes from fox news and the religious fanatics that claim to have all the answers by talking to GOD. Really!!!

      • Tom

        @ rentacop

        That is what happens to people like Fred who watch FOX NEWS they get brainwashed!

  • Roger

    Liberals feel they have a right to work, a right to have a house, a right to have some of your money, a right to create chaos, when will the thinking man wake up and give these lunatics a taste of reality? You cannot force somebody to give you work.

    • Tom

      @ R U Joking

      That will never happen. Freethinkers are not welcome in the Conservative party!

    • John Frykman

      I watch Fox news. It isn’t much less biased than ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC. I also read, which is my primary source of solid information. I don’t know a single liberal who doesn’t mindlessly watch network news and believe all the government propaganda they find there. How can I start educating YOU?

      • A Voter

        Don’t believe everything you read, and only half of what you hear. As for conservatives don’t believe anything you hear.

      • Tom

        @ John Frykman

        FOX NEWS has a conservative biased. That is their right! Roger Ailes is attempting to move FOX NEWS to the center and the viewers told him “dont u dare” if wanted the truth we would watch those networks you just mentioned.

        You take for instance anytime Palin was asked a question by any network accept FOX she would call it a “gotcha question”. How many times have you seen Palin accuse FOX NEWS of “gotcha questions”? Never !

  • christine

    I think people should be allowed to choose to join a union. However, then I also think those same people who don’t join should not receive ANY of the benefits of being a member. So when it’s time for a new contract those workers WILL NOT receive the “union” contract – they can negotiate their own raises, benefits, vacation time, sick time, etc. with the management of the company.

    • Sam

      That is not the way they have it layed out. It states that they get the same pay and benefits as union workers. But do not have to pay union dos. how is that fair?

    • Bob

      Well said Christine…I used to live/work in a “Right to Work State” (North Carolina)…They should have called it a “Right to Work for Really Cheap State”…

      • John Frykman

        If you are worth more than a union employee, the employer is free to pay your more, give you promotions, raises, and ignore seniority. This is a good thing. It means more employers will come to a state because they are not forced to hire union workers. States with right to work laws have better jobs, and more of them, than non right-to-work. Very few Minnesota workers work in union shops. Most of them are government drones. The manufacturers tend to leave high wage states for other states, or other countries.

        • Don Seaquist

          “States with right to work laws have better jobs, and more of them, than non right-to-work.” The facts do not support your opinion. Studies have shown that employees in similar industries who work in “right to work” states make an average of $5,000 less per year. Union contracts in “right to work” states have lower wages and benefits than the same contracts in non “right to work” states. Hence the term-right to work, for less.

          • John Frykman

            Then why did the Boeing Company put their new plant in South Carolina? It left Washington State because of expensive labor. Who benefits from union labor. Or would you rather American manufacturers go out of business because the world would rather pay less for better? South Carolina benefited from its right to work laws. Same reason BMW located their manufacturing plant in South Carolina. Minnesota wasn’t even in the running. Detroit is no longer Motor City because of no right to work (and other reasons). Honda, Hyudai, BMW, Volkswagen, and Toyota are all building cars, using American labor, in the South, primarily because of not cheaper labor, but more productive labor. How much does an unemployed union auto worker make?

            • Observer

              Wlonderful! A race to the bottom of the barrel in wages and benefits as American companies search for the cheapest American workers or the cheapest labor overseas. What a laudable goal! When workers have to PAY for the right to work a job, will that be okay with these companies/employers? BTW, Frykman, you need to read a book called “Retirement Heist,” about how wonderful your big companies moving to cheap, right-to-work states are.

      • Ace

        It’s a great idea but unfortunately there will always be freeloaders who get the benefits without paying the dues and that’s not fair either.

        • TL

          Well said, John…and I’m a reluctant union member.

          Ya, I enjoy the pay and benies the union has been able to sqeeze out of the company I work for…but really, thats where the love stops for me. There are alot of underlying things the union, well….”my” union, does underneath all that that I dont agree with personally. So for me, chosing to be union or not is basically chosing the lesser of two evils between union and company.

          And the immaturity the union flag holders stoop to come contract talk time and want to involve me?! No thanks. I pay “dues,” thats enough show of support for me. Its a wonder what the other side of the table thinks they’re dealing with……a daycare provider or employees who want to negotiate with dignity and respect.

          By the way, its my personal belief as well that everyone has the right to work and put food on their families tables. So if Im working with someone who choses not to be a memeber and pay dues…good for him/her! A persons gotta do what he/she has to do to survive in this country.

  • mike

    Personally, I think that being in a union is truly the way to help generate a better sense of livelihood. It’s much better for our economy, improves workers’ benefits, sick time, and better workplace safety. Most of all, it promotes better salaries as well. Being in a nonunion workplace does not always generate those benefits. So think twice about whether about you want better pay and benefits in your livelihood. Word of mouth, the “Right to Work” means the right to work for lower salary and a lack of benefits!

    • Big Dog

      Right to work means I have the right to negotiate my own compensation. As I do a better job than the union slug who works next to me, I’m entitled to better compensation.
      When a union negotiates a contract where the better performing employees get better compensation, and when they start to weed out the employees that just sit on there butts and expect to retain their jobs, then I’ll join one.

      • Krista

        @ Big dog ~ NO ACTUALLY IT DOESN’T! Negotiate what????? You will make what your employer says you will make, UNIONS NEGOTIATE! Get your facts straight! Your ass will be OUT OF A JOB :) Because that employer will tell you if ya dont like it leave. Sorry Big dog thats a FAIL……..

        • Big Dog

          You ask “Negotiat What?” How about your compensation. I’m curious, is your skill set and/or job performance really that poor that you have no ability to work with your employer to negotiate a fair salary with out help? If so, I feel sorry for you.

          • Krista

            Actually…my skill set and/or job performance are also at a level I am secure and comfortable with. I also am in a position with a wonderful employer who appreciates this and compensates accordingly. Not everyone is as lucky as us. Not everyone has employers like we do. Some people have to work very very hard (and may not have a skill set) but are do fair compensation, and do not get it. THAT is what a UNION is for!

            • Big Dog

              “and may not have a skill set”. I will not argue that one! You are right, not everyone has a marketable skill set. But the hard reality is, these people should not expect to get compensated the same as those of us who do have a marketable skill set. The problem with Unions is that they expect everybody to be paid the same. If these people want better comensation, they should improve skill set and/or perform their job better.

      • Don Seaquist

        right to work legislation does NOT mean you have the right to your own deal. Please be informed when posting. RTW just means that workers in a unionized setting pay NO dues for the same contractual benefits as those who do pay.
        No such thing as a free lunch.

        • leeches

          Unless you’re a union boss. Then all your lunches are free.

          You guys are like pick pockets at a state fair, preying upon the poor schleps who just want a decent job for a decent wage. You manipulate them into letting you do their thinking for them. And you charge them handsomely to do it. You’re the middle-man, skimming the extra cream off the top.

          They don’t need you. Ahhh, but you don’t want them to find that out, do you?

          • Don Seaquist

            retail workers in non union workplaces make less money and have lower benefits than unionized retail workers. Our members are smart and have work/life experience that won’t let anyone manipulate them. We are not afraid of RTW., it just isn’t good law (or should I say constitutional amendment). This proposal has bipartisan opposition. That should tell us all it is wrong for MN

      • Fred Simon

        Good Luck, You’re going to need it.

        • Big Dog

          Do not need luck. My skill set and job performance allows me to work with my boss to negotiate a fair compensation. Not only am I doing just fine, I’m also not a slave to union rules.

    • Observer

      @sobeit. “Slacker” is a nasty accusation and really has little to do with whether or not people retain a job. You must be young and don’t realize how risky it is to grow old in America and try to retain a job and pension benefits. The Great Recession job losses have targeted many, many older workers. The biggest risk of a job loss is not work productivity, but AGING. Your benefits cost more (your health insurance is more expensive, and you have more vacation to use), and you might just stick around to cash out or access that “raided” pension or 401K. Age is the real risk, here. Read “Retirement Heist” and get educated.


    Thousands of union personal demostrating oN tuesday. Isn’t this a work day? WHO THE HE!! GAVE YOU PEOPLE THE DAY OFF? IF YOU HAVE A JOB GET BACK TO WORK

    • A Voter

      Were I worked we negotiated day at a time vacation, take it when you need too.

      • TL

        Ya well Im union and it’d be a cold day in hellsville before I burn a vacation day for any other reason than what it was intended for….VACATION. Being union doesnt mean THAT much to me.

        Unions should negotiate for strike time off days separate from personal time off if its that important. I submit it as a demand every time contract renewal comes around. 15 yrs….I’m still waiting.

        I’m just appreciative that I have a job in this economy when others dont.

    • Fred Simon

      I went to work afte the rally. We can do more then one thing each day.

  • politicianSUX

    so are these state union workers really concerned about Voter ID? I did not see that anyplace as being in quotes, so it appears to be writer intepretation or exaggeration moreso than why these workers are taking extra long lunch breaks paid for by the tax payer to go meet with their representatives…..

  • hunnybear18

    So if union membership is such a wonderful thing, a right to work law shouldn’t hurt the unions, as folks would be flocking to join them when given the opportunity.

    Why does choice scare you?

    • R U Joking

      I love this question! HB18 wins it! why is choice so scary indeed? Why can’t I decide on if I want to work for x amount of wages if i feel that x amount is fair?

    • Vote Union YES!

      When our company was hiring they did flock, but 3/4 of them couldn’t pass the drug test.

  • Kevin

    Shouldnt they be at work??????? You know teaching in a failed school system or fixing my failing toilet????


    Or the unions doing over a 1/4 million dollars damage to the Wisconsin state capitol. I understand the unions are going to donate there time to do all the damage repair- it can be part of there benifit package.

  • not quite

    Union members are like cry babies that think they deserve your money but don’t want to work for it. There is simply no way to deny union members are lazier than their non-union counteparts.

    • Krista

      @ Not quite ~
      What do you do for a living Not Quite??

    • Don Seaquist

      I am denying it. Members of our union work very hard for their employer. I have worked in both unionized and non union sectors. Workers are no different in either. There is nothing in a union contract that says you shouldn’t provide your employer your best effort. The fight comes when employers do not recognize hard work with an appropriate wage/benefit/working condition. We will not re-build our nations economy with cheap labor. Too much of our GDP is tied to consumer spending. The middle class is key to our economic recovery.

      • R U Joking

        Don I see your point but the time and place for unionized work is gone. In this day and age, the union isn’t needed. If you want to make a fair wage then it should be up to you and your employer. If the wage isn’t fair then walk

        • Don Seaquist

          Walk to where? In this economy? What is wrong with holding your employer accountable. Employers hold workers accountable, so I see nothing wrong with workers having a fair expectation of their current employer

        • Vote Union YES!

          By walking you give up your accrued pension time. Employers love not having to pay their employees pensions. Care to try again?

          • Observer

            Absolutely, right on! Companies having been raiding overfunded pension plans for years (the present excuse for the “pension crisis”). They LOVE it when a young employee quits early, and statistics state that younger employees have an average of 7 jobs by the time they are 32. Without a union, it is easy for companies to force that kind of turnover and pocket the profits.

          • Big Dog

            Sounds like you picked the wrong job and/or employer to work for. Everytime I’ve moved to a new job, I kept my pension. Then again, I didn’t rely on a union to negotiate the terms of my pension either.

            • Older and wiser

              Maybe you need to read “Retirement Heist” and get some perspective on what other people go through at Cigna, IBM, the Big 3 automakers, etc. The unions have no say in the financial tricks companies can do with pensions/401Ks and the rest.

      • not quite

        I know dozens of public union employees that would tell you differently. I feel like union discussions are in the same vein as discussing train robberies in a world of high tech identity theft. Old fashioned. To read the discussion of employers not treating you fairly and on and on is tantamount to playing the victim card. Get up and vote with your feet. If you havn’t notices MN unemployment is nearly non existant as compared to the alway present natural rate of unemployment even in the best of times. It’s amazing so many ever move out of their parents’ basements with these can’t do attitudes. Money follow skills.

        • Brett

          So soddy, you make too much sense. Doesn’t work in today’s world. Only the INSANE have ‘sense’, and HENCE, hat the power to control most things.

          that is WHAT most of the productive, TAX-PAYING, DECENT, ETHICAL, and MORAL people are dealing with these days, and these people are losing the battle, day after day, year after year, thanks to the “educated” people at ‘cco, like “pat” and “esme”. What a JOKE ‘cco has become.

  • R U Joking

    If you want to make CEO pay then go be a CEO.. That’s not what this is about. I’m not going to be angry at a CEO cause he is making CEO pay. Whats stopping you from becoming CEO yourself? Oh wait, you have to work for it!

  • Tom

    Conservatives do not like unions they have made that clear. Conservatives want everybody else to do what they do which is bend over grab your ankles and smile, smile, smile!

    • Union-x

      Libs can’t survive on their own – Join union, after a couple of years sit around on lazy az and if someone needs to be fired whack the juinor worker, Retire at 50 – thats a good deal if you arn’t paying for it like the taxpayers are.

      • Tom

        @ Union-x

        You need to leave your conservative bubble and join the REAL WORLD!

  • Best3800

    If you don’t like unions, it’s pretty simple, go look for employment elsewhere.reality is that Karl Rove is the one that has made unions the scapegoat for the Gov. Deficits,He made unions the big Evil in a down economy. But in the real world it’s just politics as usual.Cut a major funding source to the Dems. And Rove feels like the GOP has a better chance to Win! We all know it’s all about who can raise the most Money.SEE Mitt Romney!

  • Ted

    Unions are destroying labor in America, driving prices up, lowering quality and at the same time, destroying the companies they supposedly work for. Down with Unions, up with citizens that work and decide for themselves!!

    • Tom

      @ Ted

      You mean do what people like you do and bend over and grab your ankles!

  • Jason

    Why shouldnt I be able to choose were to work and if I want to belong to a union or not? That choice should always be left up to the individual.

  • jimmyp

    “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member”., so said Groucho Marx

  • Brett

    And YET, the MAJORITY of U of M “assistants” just voted DOWN forming a PUKING UNION, by a W I D E margin. Go figger…..

  • Krista

    THEY DON’T FORCE YOU! My father is a proud Union member and he has been for over fifty years now. He has always been a hard working blue collar, middle class member of the community. He kept food on the table, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our head. The Union gives the workers a voice! WHY ARE THEY TRYING TO WIPE OUT THE MIDDLE CLASS! The middle class built this country! THE RIGHT TO WORK PROPOSAL IS UNSAFE, UNFAIR, AND UNNECESSARY!

  • Real Deal

    I’m proud to be a union member, I wouldn’t want it any other way. With that being said I think there are a lot of misconceptions that we are overpaid and lazy. From experience it is the opposite of that. In the last four years I haven’t had a increase in salary due to the economy and rightfully so. All I will ever ask is that my employer doesn’t take away what has already been negotiated and given to me. If the employer and the employee can agree to that then we win and they win. With a union contract there is the agreement that we all maintain a high level of production which in return proves that unions are not lazy. If we didn’t maintain that then my employer has and should have the right to decrease our salary and benefits until that level of production is met. That in itself is enough for the majority of us to work at the highest level possible.

  • Sad Truth

    Wisconsin has a better football team than Minnesota.
    Wisconsin has a better governor that Minnesota.
    Wisconsin is run by men, Minnesota by little girls.

    • Mayhem

      Becoming the first team in NFL history to lose in the first round of the playoffs after going 15-1. Why’d they even bother getting in the playoffs?

      WI governor was or is on the verge of getting impeached… about your no-confidence vote.

      WI is run by drunks. In fact, your not considered a WI resident unless you have at least 5 DUI’s on your record. All of them in WI.

      • rentacop

        EXCELLENT comment and VERY true. THANK YOU !! To think that some of these people walk among us and mulitply is a scary thing.

  • Ed

    Union member = Slave. Last time I checked an employee receives a paycheck from the business NOT the Union; yet the Union extorts from its members in order to push its agenda, oftentimes at the expense of jobs themselves because of unreasonable demands. When was the last time you heard that the Union leadership was cut in order to pay for union members who find themselves out of a job due to the leadership demands and repercussions from cause and effect of increased costs to the business? It doesn’t happen from what I can tell.
    We NEED Right To Work opportunities, otherwise all we get from Unions is enslavement. Set the captives FREE!

  • Sad State

    Union workers doing what they do best. Protesting and complaining, not working.

    Politicians doing what they do best. Listening to vocal minority and not doing the right thing.

    Got to love politics. We are all doomed.

  • Mr. T

    Labor Unions suck so bad! They take in ten-fold what the need and pay themselves very well. They protect the most horrible and lazy workers. They are motivated by one thing only: greed. It is (again) getting more difficult every day to tell the difference between organized labor and organized crime. The connections go back a loooong way! Workers can do better without them and save money too!

  • Krista

    The Unions created the standard the we expect from a good employer now a days…..we take those unions away, those standards will change. We will then have to recreate these same unions that you want to abolish.

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