ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — State employees began returning to work in Minnesota Thursday after a new budget agreement ended a government shutdown of nearly three weeks.

Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr held the door open for employees and welcomed them back at the DNR’s central office in St. Paul. His children handed out cookies to returning employees who were armed with coffee mugs and briefcases.

Gov. Mark Dayton postponed his visit to state agencies Thursday morning. Speaking on WCCO radio, the 64-year-old governor said a headache prevented him from greeting state employees.

The shutdown, the nation’s longest in a decade, closed state parks, historic sites and put many services on hold.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (61)
  1. Unemployed says:

    Not being able to have access to the Department of Employment and Economic Development resources including its use of their computers for a job search has hurt. I am happy they are available again.

  2. gdog says:

    It’s great that they are back to work again. Now when we call for assistance instead of getting the message that they are closed, we’ll just get put on hold and ignored.

  3. Sean says:

    I didn’t even notice they were gone. Pretty sad that if the media didn’t report it ever day not many people really would have cared.

    1. Ted says:

      People need to care about the unemployed. Unemployment hurts even those who batch and moan about paying for anything but their own good will are hurt with high unemployment.

      1. red says:

        People care about the unemployed. These people were not unemployed they were temporarily out of work. THEY HAD A JOB TO GO BACK TO. They just did not know when thanks to out ditzo Dayton

      2. Lucas says:

        You are wrong. Employed State workers = Pay 100% of wages, full benefits, get nothing in return. Unemployed State Workers = Pay 50% of Wages, Full Benefits, get nothing in return. Seems like having them unemployed saved us 50% of their wages. Unemployment is insurance that they don’t contribute to, Employment wages are taken directly from tax payers. I guess it’s a no-win situation.

        1. Ted says:

          I believe unemployment is payed by the employer for each employee. I was refering to having DEED shut down, I was not refering to State workers. Unemployment money from our tax money, not the fee employers pay for each employer, is given out during high unemployment by States and by the Federal goverment. If I am wrong, I would like to know. If I am right, to complain about unemployment from your tax you pay is really foolish and ignorant.

          1. Lucas says:

            DEED doesn’t do anything. It’s symbolically meaningful, but nobody actually gets a job through using it. Go to a public library, send in a job application. I don’t see what the state has to do with it. It’s the state that chose to send out extra tax payer money.

            1. Ted says:

              Wow. I cannot believe your response. It is based on nothing. DEED does much good. Wow. Where do you get your information from? I cannot believe your reply.

              1. Lucas says:

                Can you give me measurable results of how good DEED is? “Much good” and other poor usage of the english language doesn’t provide any base in reality.

                1. Ted says:

                  I does not understand the asking Lucas. Asking for measurable results is pretty easy to find. To put down somebody’s language skills while asking that shows that if I would show you, you would find something else unproductive to say.

      3. Elmo says:

        I was laid off from companies before. I had to reapply for the job to get work. These people did not have to reapply. So it was a nice Summer vacation. I’m sure the union will get their wages back, atleast the upper end of the food chain.

        1. SK says:

          Once again, someone who does not have a clue.

          Private Industry has been using unemployment in the same way that was applied to state workers for decades. Construction workers, mining industry, auto workers, other industries that close temporarily have often shut down work for weeks or months. Those workers get to collect unemployment and are recalled when work picks up. There are even questions on the unemployment form that ask if you expect to be recalled. So state workers did not get any “special” treatment. They should get the same rights as other workers.

          Remember that unemployment does not “kick” in until the second full week of unemployment. State workers lost 14 days of work and were paid 50% for only 6 days. Not a great vacation. No fun waiting and listening to the politicians make a decision on your future Not many temporary jobs for people expecting to return to work at any unknown time.

  4. Joe says:

    I agree with you gdog. Seems like some of the state employees I’ve been covering for the last 20 days didn’t have enough time off so they called in sick and or are taking vacation until next Monday.
    I’m so sick of this system. I’ve been working for over 45 years, sometime two and three jobs at a time and have never had the opportunity to be unemployeed. I think it’s my turn. Would love to sit back hang out in a pool or go boating or vaction with my kids for some time while someone else picks up the tab.
    Our system, state and country sucks.

    1. Citizen says:

      Joe, you are free to try another system of government in another country if you are so unhappy here in Minnesota and the U.S. Perhaps Saipan? Somalia?

      1. Jim says:

        Intelligent reply, Joe. Seriously, if you don’t like your job or lot in life why don’t you try to improve it instead of whining on an internet message board? Pretty pathetic.

      2. Luke says:

        Maybe instead of wrecking ours you need to go back to North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Soviet Russia, or where ever you get your ideas of big government success come from.

        1. Jim says:

          I like it here, Luke. It’s Republicans like you who seem to have a problem with out system. Look into Somalia, a free-market paradise. No regulations! No onerous EPA to protect clean drinking water! (Who needs water anyway?) No taxes! (Also no roads, no police, piracy, war, famine, etc.)

          1. Luke says:

            Didn’t they have a problem with a National Socialist Workers’ Party in Europe in the 40’s? I like it here, spending a little is good constantly pushing to spend more isn’t sustainable.

            1. Jim says:

              I don’t get the reference to Nazis. If you’re trying to compare Democrats in this state to Nazis then you’re beneath contempt.

              One side wants to spend more, more, more, and other would spend nothing. The answer is somewhere in the middle, as usual, but the partisans on both sides make that difficult.

              1. Fact says:

                Your right comparing anyone or anything to the MN DFL is beneath contempt!

                1. Jim says:

                  “Fact,” comparing anyone to Nazis is wrong. You disgust me.

  5. Les says:

    State workers returning back to work. No State workers returning back to put their time in.

  6. MARK says:

    If you really believe this, go for it. You’ll find out soon enough that poverty and unemployment is not the easy life Republicans make it seem. I urge you to quit your job ASAP.

    1. Mark's Brother Tom says:

      I was unemployed for 18 months. Only thing that changed in my life was I didn’t need to pay to drive to work or have other work related costs. Still paid for my house, vacations, renovated my house, and grew my bank account. Maybe I know how to manage my money better than others. DON’T QUIT YOUR JOB! GET LAID OFF OR FIRED! Otherwise you won’t qualify for benefits. Being lazy gets you unemployment. Being negligent doesn’t!

      1. MARK says:

        You couldn’t find a job for 18 months? Did you consider changing careers or otherwise bettering yourself, or were you content to take vacations and take money from the government to grow your bank account?

        If you get fired for cause (such as being lazy) then you don’t get benefits. But you already knew that.

        I worked for a company years ago that went bankrupt. I received one unemployment check that was only a portion of what I would be paid to work. I found a job a few days later. Unemployment is not fun.

        1. Tom says:

          They knew I was lazy when they hired me. Not something I can help, so I do get benefits. It’s a little bit harder being a consultant for the state and trying to get a job when they decide that it’s more important to hand welfare out than maintain infrastructure. The 35W didn’t have any design failures, it was 15 years over it’s design life. Pretty much overpaid state workers, people receiving welfare and teachers caused it to happen.

          1. MARK says:

            Tom, I’ve read some pretty outlandish things posted on this site, but the 35W bridge collapse being the fault of “overpaid state workers, people receiving welfare and teachers” just about takes the prize. You said it was 15 years over it’s design life. How in the world is that the fault of teachers?

            1. Tom says:

              I am glad you asked. There are only so many dollars in the state coffers, and when one of the states unions whine for more money they are given it. If state workers or teachers received the same amount as someone in the private sector (including benefits) they could rebuild every bridge in the in 10 years not delay infrastructure maintenance till failure.

              1. The Architect says:

                Wait. Let me get this straight.

                You think the state pays teachers, and that the money comes out of the budget for road and bridge repairs?

                I think we’ve identified the problem here… You don’t know what you’re talking about.

              2. MARK says:

                Yeah, that’s ridiculous Tom. I get the feeling the problem here is ignorance of how our system works. Not a good sign for the future.

              3. Tom says:

                I am pretty sure they have reduced the transportation budget the last several years with major increases to education and health and human services which make up 80% of Minnesota’s budget. You are ignorant if you don’t think it’s all coming from pretty much the same pot of money. And what we do spend is based on what we can get from the federal govt. to match. Have you been down university ave lately?

                1. Norge says:

                  Tom you are quite correct, but maybe some phrasing is confusing your liberal friends…they are very defensive and not the brightest. You are dead on about the 35W bridge, robbed infrastructure funds sent to education and other public-union sector jobs had a dierect impact on why it failed! They are nit-picking the finer points to detract from the accurate points you make. The lame-stream public-union investigators also, (without much effort to hide it) failed to note that one of the things cut was weigh-scale operations during rush hours and evenings on either side of the bridge. And since every study done that utilizes spot checks shows that roughly 65% of semis run overweight, and every overweight semi causes up 25-30% (or higher) more vibration and surface damage then legal trucks. No-one in the then DFL controlled Legislature, (which was the investigating authority) dared mention that they had a direct hand in reduceing the weigh-scale operations which also lead to its failure…it is the 900lb gorrilla in the DFL caucus no-one there will mention…they prefer the explanation of pigeon-poop causing it…seriously…I’m not making that up they really said that!

      2. Sandi says:

        Just proves my case that people scam the system in all class levels – it is just not “welfare” people.

        And Unemployment – just like everything else – gives more advantages to those that HAVE MORE. You get 50% of you income (with a max of $575/week). Those at minimum wage kind of jobs ($10 or less per hour) will only get $200 or less per week and that does not pay for house, vacation, renovations and savings.

        Tom must have been towards the top of the income level – which provides an income of $29,900 per year. These higher paid jobs also may provide health benefits for a certain amount of time after they were laid off. State and Federal taxes are paid on unemployment – but other FICA and other deductions you had on your job pay check are no longer there such as health, parking, pension or other 401k contributions- so you have a liveable wage. Tom also does not say if he was married and his wife also provided an income and possibly health benefits. TOM HAS THAT SINGLE VISION THAT BELIEVES EVERYONE LIVES AND HAS BENEFITS JUST LIKE HIM.

        The requirement of unemployment is that one needs to be looking for jobs – and those coming from minimum wage jobs are expected to take any comparable job – while those coming from the higher wage jobs are only looking for jobs similar in pay to what they left and think the other jobs are “beneath” them. So it is pretty unlikely that those in lower income jobs will continue to use unemployment as their income because it is too little to pay their bills – while those like Tom who get liveable incomes will milk the system.

        And for Tom to get 18 months means that he was laid off during this poor economic time where unemployment has been extended. Benefits are usually only provided for 6 months.

        Yes we should be grateful for help that unemployment provides when layoffs occur – but it is not a great life style. And most people get a whole lot less than Tom – everything is not equal and fair for everyone.

  7. Common Man says:

    •Compensation per state government employee averaged $69,500, which is 23 percent more than the private sector worker average of $56,500. Much of the difference was in employer-paid benefits, which were more than 1.5 times that of private employees. State employees received 16 percent more in wages and salaries than private employees.
    •Compensation per local government employee averaged $63,100, which is 12 percent more than the private sector worker average of $56,500. Much of the difference was in employer-paid benefits, which were more than 1.5 times that of private employees. Local government employees received 4 percent more in wages and salaries than private employees.
    Compensation Per Hour Worked: The gap between state and private employee compensation is greater per hour worked. The more generous state government paid time off policies raise the state government employee compensation advantage to 28.8 percent over private employees.

    1. P SMITH says:

      and where did you get your statistics “fox news” because the average Minnesota state employee is about 45,000 per year !

      1. KeepItReal says:

        Sorry P Smith, just because you typed it doesn’t make it correct. You are wrong. It is 69K.

    2. Jake says:

      Not to mention the OVERTIME!!! The best BENEFIT that gov’t workers use and ABUSE.

  8. Ali says:

    thanks CM, we need a true American like walker from Wisconsin to get this under control.
    Question to all: Do you have a life time pension that is inflation proof like Public Union Employees have at our ecxpence and that your grand children will have to be paying as these pensions are not funded.

    1. MARK says:

      I find it amusing that Republicans think only people they agree with are “true Americans.” That makes A LOT of sense if you don’t think about it.

  9. Give Me Liberty says:

    So the Gov. couldn’t greet the employee’s because of a headache.

    I’m sure WCCO will do the responsible thing and conduct an indepth investigation regarding the Gov.’s medication and whether he can perform his duties sufficiently or not.

    Oh wait, he’s a Democrat so that standard doesn’t apply.

    1. MARK says:

      Ah, the old “Liberal media” complaint. That never gets old. Really. Keep it up.

    2. Julie says:

      I completely agree!

      Just think of the headache that Gov. Dayton has created for all for the state employees that have not had jobs for the last 3 weeks and the uncertainty around it. Yet a little headache prevented him from welcoming them back and apologizing for the inconvenience that our government has put them through for the last 3 weeks!

      1. MARK says:

        Julie, I must have missed the part where the Republican legislators greeted and apologized to state employees as they returned to work. Can you link me to that story?

        1. P SMITH says:

          Mark they haven’t and probably wait absolutly will not apologize or take any of the blame for this shutdown ……………………………………………they don’t need to because we know it wouldn’t be sincere any way maybe sarcastic ………..lets remember this in November of 2012 ……………VOTE DEMOCRATE !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. A Voter says:

    We should have a shutdown like this ounce a year to insure that we have the absolute lowest paid, dumbest public servants in the country working for us.

  11. This guy says:

    @ Common, I’m interested in your data. What percentage of private sector jobs in the study pay minimum or near minimum wage? How many jobs in the private sector figures have no benefits at all? Are these all full-time jobs? All three of these conditions could easily skew the data. Additionally, most state or local government jobs are professional level and require advanced education. I don’t beleive your analysis is apples-to-apples.

    1. Mark L. says:

      You know, much of the nonsense people here claim as fact is in context to “something urgently serious enough” that we need to light tourches and shout about making drastic immediate changes by force. In that context, I know right there it is far from fact.

    2. peter says:

      All private sector workers are also considered “essential” otherwise there wouldn’t be a job.

      I would suspect that the 22,000 “non-essential” government employees eating up tax dollars with bloated salaries.

      1. Paul says:

        It was all strictly seniority based dummy. It had absolutely nothing to do with who was more important, Who did more, Or who contributed more.

        “Essential” was based on public safety and keeping certain portions running that were vital to state functions. Or would you rather that they just open the doors of the prisons and not give out any public assistance? lol

        1. Ted says:

          Paul, some of the people who don’t want any goverment would rather ask for volunteers to execute people for crimes rather than send them to prison because it don’t cost them a dime for that. As far as public assistence… the only tax they would be willing to pay out is cleanup of the dead bodies who had need of help but got none. To them, they deserved it. You cannot discuss anything with people like this. Just stay off their grass.

      2. Astonished_by_your_beliefs says:

        Ignorance is bliss!!! Where have you lived?

        First , just to clarify, the “essential” workers used doing the shut-down was much more a legal determination and had nothing to do with core govt services.

        There are certainly many private sector jobs that are not necessary. Not every private company is so stream-lined and efficient that every single workers is absolutely necessary. It’s people involved.. There’s nepotism, often more high-paid managers than we need, who knows who, who can look busy or who knows how to talk “big” and sound like they are crucial. Also not every worker in private business produces a “widget” that someone can measure how many they make a day and determine exactly how many workers are necessary to get a job done. There are a lot of “fuzzy” jobs – talking to customers, problem solving, managing other workers, fixing equipment – jobs where the required time can vary for each situation. And some companies have a near “monopoly” on their services so they can just charge us more for their services and don’t worry about ‘extra” employees.

        Private industry and workers are NOT some sacred institution that should be put on a pedestal!!!

  12. Shrugged says:


    • State will take over city pension funds for retired Minneapolis police officers and firefighters – something city leaders have long lobbied for.

    • Both the members of each fund and the Minneapolis city council need to approve the terms of the agreement.

    What are the implications of this?

  13. peter says:

    No, my problem is that the government has any “un-essential” workers sucking up taxpayers dollars at all.

    Anything above essential core functions of government is excessive and stealing money from taxpayers to fund these positions should be criminal.

    1. P SMITH says:

      so as a drivers license examiner I ‘m just sucking up taxpayers dollars and I’m now a criminal ………………….NOT! you ask any person that needs a drivers test or a license in Minnesota or just get reinstated I think we would get a better responce! so peter I feel your UN-ESSENTIAL TO ME AND ALL STATE EMPLOYEES !

  14. The Architect says:

    Why do you drink under your desk?

    1. bobrh6 says:

      Same as what Monica drank under a desk?

  15. Julie says:

    Plutocracy–look it up and try and tell me that’s not what is going on.

  16. Jake says:

    Hey, state employees, don’t go back to work on time on MY ACCOUNT. Just take your old sweet time. Drag out getting things back to ‘normal’, whatever THAT IS. Show us, who you serve, who is in charge. Put us citizens in our place, as we are here to serve YOU, versus the opposite. Now WE KNOW what the PROBLEM IS.

  17. Norge says:

    Did anyone actually miss any of them??? Anyone? And the obese guy in the video doesn’t look like he has actually ‘worked’ (as opposed to collecting a check) for years, but Dayton wants more tax dollars to pay this guy who doesn’t work. (Yeah yeah I know…doc said he has a gland problem, the glands are clogged with FAT from NOT working!). The Dems can’t win honest state-wide elctions without their corrupt liberal judges taking away our MN servicmens ballots and refusing to count the votes of those actually fighting for free elections. Ironic, so many MN vets die for honest elections in Iraq and liberal judges throw out their ballots at home so Dayton and Franken can steal elections….how noble of them!

  18. Sydney says:

    How does bashing state employees help? For all you know, your neighbor down the street is a state employee, just trying to do their job, raise their family, send their kids to college, like anybody else. So you didn’t need their services or miss them, bully for you. Other people did need their services and did miss them. If they didn’t answer your call as quick as you thought they should, most likely it’s because each state employee is trying to do the work of three employees, with all the budget cuts. The state employees I know have college degrees, worked hard to get their job(s), work hard to keep their jobs and take their responsibility to the state and citizens of Minnesota very seriously. There are always a few bad apples in any workplace, but the majority of state employees do a great job and I’m grateful for them.
    Instead of knocking each other down all the time, let’s do more walking in each other’s shoes. We’re letting the partisan politics of the day diminish us as human beings. Let the anger go and take the time to figure out what you can do to help make things better instead of complaining.

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