ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Hundreds of union workers filled the State Capitol Tuesday afternoon to protest a constitutional amendment that could directly affect them.

It’s called the “Right to Work” amendment, and it would make union membership voluntary.

Republican leaders who control the House and Senate say the “Right to Work” amendment is too big to carry this year, but supporters haven’t given up. The unions say reports of its death are greatly exaggerated.

Hundreds of public workers don’t believe it for a second.

Despite Republican claims there aren’t enough votes to pass a “Right to Work” amendment, union leaders say it is not only alive, it is ready to launch at any moment. Union leaders predict they’ll bring Wisconsin-style protests to Minnesota if the bill passes.

“They want to bring Ohio? They want to bring Wisconsin to Minnesota? Well sisters and brothers, are we ready? Yes. Are we ready? Yes. Are we ready? Yes,” shouted the protesters.

Many newly-elected young conservatives want Minnesota to be a “right to work” state, putting it in the state Constitution this fall. They aren’t happy with their GOP leaders, who worry that a strong union turnout against it will hurt Republicans.

“I didn’t come up here to be re-elected,” said Sen. Dave Thompson, the chief author of the Right to Work amendment. He is also critical of his fellow Republicans who are reluctant to vote yes.

“I don’t believe people want us to govern from the perspective of fear or worry about the next election. I think they want us to govern to have the courage of our convictions and do what we believe,” Thompson said.

The Right to Work amendment is one of several constitutional amendments Republicans are serious about. That list also includes the gay marriage ban that’s already on the ballot this fall and a voter photo ID that’s awaiting final passage.

Comments (19)
  1. Fred Simon says:

    I have never begged for anything in my life!!!! I am a 29 year Military Veteran and I work for a living. I started working at the age of 10. My Father and Mother instilled work ethic in all of their children. I’m not programed, I am a human being and I’m totally offended by your ignorant reply!

    1. Elwood says:

      Right On, brother!!

  2. Tim Jensen says:

    Where were these union works when Reagan was busting up theunions back in the 80’s? I worked for 3 unions back in the 80’s and all went to hell. I went frojm working 8-10 hours a day to 12-14 hours. The union didn’t do a thing for us but take as much money out of my paycheck as they could. The only unions that were left alone were the state, fed and teachers unions. It’s about time they go after them too and make the state budget smaller. The union works didn’t do a damn thing for me back then I’m sure not going to support any of them now! I guess there will be no more pay for holding up a shovel on the side of the road. I think we should put all union office workers on piece rate for their pay. Then maybe things would get done faster then 8-10 weeks.

  3. saints#1 says:

    I have 5 words for all you so call right to work states and you GOP/TEA partiers who are actually really ignorant. Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina. Ask those states how it is working for them being in the top of the most miserable states to live in.

    1. The other 99% says:

      To liberals like you all I have to say is Utah. They are a right to work state and their unemployment rate is the same as Minnesota. Less Taxes in Utah also. Also Texas is a right to work state. Anyhow are not the states you mention where foreign car manufactures are so they do not have to deal with Outdated Unions.

  4. Bob says:

    Unions are their own worst enemy, keep playing the thuggery card and see how it works for you.

  5. Brett says:

    Just a “note’ to you so-called “union leaders” down at the state capitol.

    YOU DON”T REPRESENT ME. I am a UNION MEMBER, who has been FORCED to pay UINION DUES to an UNACCOUNTABLE UNION for almost *30* STINKING YEARS. You have been supporting major gov’t reps who I wouldn’t even vote for the local DOG CATCHER, let alone CONGRESS.

    Minorities and WOMEN have been suing companies like mine HAND OVER FIST, for claims that would NEVER see the TIME OF DAY, if they ever saw newsprint, because they aren’t worth the paper that they were printed on.

    Theres’s a lot of BS going on, just don’t expect THIS website to “inform you”, because there is too much dirty money being tossed around.

  6. John says:

    Hey Brett – If you didnt like paying the dues, why didnt you just write them off like the rest of us did. I take my wife on a trip every year on the dues. I have worked in Utah, and why am I back in Minnesota? I will tell you why. I worked in a manufacturing plant at 13.75 an hour with 2 weeks vacation and 500 dollars a month for a family health insurance plan. I moved to Minnesota, with my wife and children and I get paid 22.50 an hour, 4 weeks vacation a year and I pay 175 dollars a month for medical and dental and I get a defined pension plan until I die. I get all this for 47.50 a month union dues. I wish all you repubs would wake up because you could this too instead of your two weeks a year vacation and your 401k plan. God bless America, and my union.

    1. Jeff says:

      And you wonder why the State is Broke? You just gave the reason why it is.

    2. Patrick says:

      Good luck with your guarantee until you die. Soon your company will farm out parts of manufacturing to China because they can’t stay competitive with the market and you Sir will have to try to replace all that you think you deserve standing in front of Walmart greeting customers.

    3. Unions kill says:

      And you’ve probably been sitting at your computer for 30 minutes typing your comment. All while some of your co-workers, who show up to actually work and benefit the company, are out busting their a$$es. No worries though, the union will back you up if you get in trouble…..So why would you care about the actual company? You will keep getting paid, for doing half the work that some people would kill to do for half the pay. Remember the company…they’re the ones paying you, not the precious union you speak of….

    4. Ross Perot says:

      That’s fine if you want to be a union member. Just don’t force others to be a union member when they don’t want to be. That is called freedom my friend.

  7. redneck purist says:

    Awesome headline. “Unions protest the right to work”. Too funny.

  8. Growupandgohome says:

    Sad to tell the unions this but OUR union is larger over here in WI and it’s the People’s Union of our state that have VOTED continually to stop the nonsense and waste the unions have been driving us towards for years.

    Someone once compared it to two kids on the playground and one always saying I win I win after they lost….. Grow Up and go home, you lost =) we don’t want your bullying around anymore.

  9. KEVIN says:

    Unions have become the thr people they hate. BIG BISNESS

  10. hunnybear18 says:

    So basically, we can’t let the rest of the 85% of workers decide if they should have a choice to join the union and therein pay the dues. We must keep it to where they pay dues whether they want to or not. We simply can’t give all Minnesotans a choice. Ours are the only important voices.

    But yet, unions are so wonderful everybody wants to be in one and agrees they are the best way to go. If that was true, why are you worried about us all voting on it?

  11. Kevin says:

    Unions are a fu**ing joke. They back the Dems who allow open borders….which floods our nation with low cost labor…..which drives compensation down……which takes jobs away from real “Americans”…..

  12. KEVIN says:

    Minn. could have Wisconsin style protests. Does that mean they are going to damage our state capitol and then walk away and let the state tax payers pay for the damages? Arrest them all if they do damage and make the unions pay for all damages.It’s alright to protest but when you start damaging property then it turns criminal.

  13. Jay says:

    Right to work law sounds terrible. States where there is right to work are states with less educated students. Why do people hate unions so much in this country? Why aren’t people more bothered about the fact that because of tax loopholes, people like Warren Buffet pay 17.7% in taxes while his secretary pays 30%? America will eventually become a more happier, healthier, wealthier, more progressive country. We just need to wait up to a couple of decades for knowledge of the ignorant to seek in that Grover Norquist Republicans are driving this nation to the ground while the richest people only get richer.

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