ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A group of Republican state senators say they want the full Senate to vote on a constitutional amendment that would make union membership voluntary in Minnesota, despite signs the bill is stalled at the Capitol.

Sen. Dave Thompson and colleagues held a Capitol news conference Tuesday. Thompson’s fellow Republicans control the Senate and will determine whether the bill moves to the floor.

Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem says again Tuesday it lacks the votes to pass and there are no plans for a full Senate vote.

But Sen. David Hann says the only way to know that for sure is to send it to the Senate floor.

A Senate committee narrowly passed the amendment last week but a House version has yet to get a hearing.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (79)
  1. G Dog says:

    Only 15.8% of workers in Minnesota belong to a union. If you object to unions, there are plenty of jobs in non-union shops.

    1. Grynch says:

      And let’s pass bills that benefit the majority of the work force not just 15.8% of them.

      1. Vote Union YES! says:

        @ Grynch, Then we shouldn’t allow individual states to pass laws unless the majority of states agree.

        1. The Infidel says:

          Congratulations, that has got to be the most ridiculous statement I’ve seen in a long time.

      2. Blog Ref says:

        That’s a great idea, Grynch. And interesting that you bring that issue up. You strike me as one who would hope to see this bill passed. Interestingly enough, every employee in the state and, for that matter, the country, is currently enjoying benefits and employee rights that came about as a result of the work of labor unions. These benefits (fair compensation, medical, dental, retirement plans, etc) did not come into being because employers felt obligated to their work force. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: what bodes I’ll for union employees bodes ill for all employees.

    2. Kevin says:

      GDiggity Dog……the problem I have is that of that 15.6%…….53% are Govt workers that my tax dollars are paying for! I could care less about non Govt unions…..but if I am paying the bill for these cushy union jobs……….I should have a say!!!! I say NO to Govt unions……..they work for me…not some bs union…..if they want to work for a union let them go to the private sector…..

      1. Sean Kelly says:

        Kevin… contrary to your narrow view of the world, they do not WORK FOR YOU, They work for the State of Minnesota and they earn salaries from taxes and other forms of state income. The only bs here is what is coming from you. Personally, I would love it if ALL of the state workers went into the private sector because guys like you would be out of a job.

        1. get it already says:

          Hey Sean Kelly, Just who do you think the State of Minnesota is and the taxes and state income, where do you think that comes from. US tax payers. The state income does not grow on trees contrary to what you may believe.

          1. MN Atheist says:

            @ Kevin and get it already

            By your logic I also pay the wages and benefits of employees at Target, Wal-Mart, my local grocery store, etc. But I don’t get any say about that! If I could I would lower their wages so I wouldn’t have to pay so much for the things I need!

        2. Tom says:

          @ Sean Kelly

          People like Kevin live in a bubble as they dont like what the real world is like! As the real world doesn’t support their views!

      2. rockfish says:

        I will send you a .00000009 check to reimburse you for your share.

        1. get it already says:

          Please do rockfish but I am pretty sure that I pay into the State quite a bit more than that. So you will have to pay me for every State worker job not just one.

      3. Common sense says:

        cushy union jobs??? How about if you tell me how much a snowplow driver makes and how many hours per week he works?? The state employees haven’t seen a pay raise in 4 years because of Paw Paw freezing them. They have been on a hiring freeze also. With the recent retirement encentive the state has lost about 14% of the workforce. The rest of the people have had to pick up the slack. Unitl you know what your’re talking about Kevin….

        1. K. says:

          Nurses are unionized and their job is very far from “cushy.” And before anyone makes a statement about what nurses do, spend a day in their shoes first and then you will have the right to say anything. I’ve been there and done that and it has taken such a physical, mental, and emotional toll on me over the years that I am now in a teaching position rather than doing bedside care. It isn’t that I no longer want to do the work, I no longer can. And contrary to what you might think, nurses are a separate discipline from medical doctors and they can only become nurses after years of college….they do need a college degree and a state license to practice. Without the union, the ranks of nurses would be much thinner than they already are. At least some of the work issues were resolved by union contract negotiations.

        2. Tom says:

          @ Common Sense

          Conservatives do like unions they have made that clear. They want the rest of us to be like the people they represent and that is to bend over and grab your ankles and smile, smile, smile!

      4. Sam says:

        I say no to paying for your kids to go to school. Pay for your kids school your self. I want a to say who lives in my next to me to. If i do not like it I can make them leave.

  2. Jack Boot says:

    How about a CBS Comments union? If you want to post here, you are required to give the union money.

    What’s wrong with extorting money from people?

  3. David says:

    If you really want to know about Right to Work issues look at the states that have those laws in place,It means that you have the right to work for less!!
    The states that have those laws have lower wages and less benefits so If the Republicans want MY VOTE for anything other then their own RECALL notice they had better table the issue FAST.

    1. Paul says:

      David- You’ve probably never voted Republcan and it’s about choice and choosing to belong to the union or not. Don’t you believe in freedom of choice? Regarding lower or higher wages, since so few private sector workers work in a union anymore, it’s really a moot point as the free market is dictating wages. If you’re not making a very high wage, perhaps you need to retrain yourself in another field!

      1. Common sense says:

        Yes you should have the freedom of choice….The freedom to choose someplace else to work for whole lot less with a whole lot less benefits!!!
        This is nothing more than the Republicans trying to depress the working class.
        Republican agenda: Poor class – Republican class. err excuse me…Republican no class.

        1. Paul says:

          Common Sense?? How is letting the people that work in government jobs having the right to choose whether or not to belong to a union, depressing the working class? Do you equate the working class with Government workers? What’s depressing is watching your union dues go to elect people that you don’t like.

          1. jimmy says:

            Their not just after the Government unions but the private sector unions to. Of course you knew that, it just didn’t fit your argument.

  4. Duanes says:

    The last I checked this is a free country( although I know the current administration and unions are trying to make it a socialist country) we should have the right to join or not join a union. I also don’t want a union taking my money to vote for someone to turn the country I love into a socialist country. Why don’t you socialist’s just move to Europe.

    1. Common sense says:

      you don’t want a unin taking your money??? find a new place to work and see if you get the higher pay and benefits anywhere else….

      1. Paul says:

        I have and I am. Your turn………..Quit feeding at the public trough!

        1. rentacop says:

          Paul, let me know how your retirement plan works out.

          1. Paul says:

            rentacop- Our IRA’s and 401k’s are doing much better the past few years! All you can do is start saving early and often and spread your investments around.
            Let me know how the government pensions work out for the taxpayers in ten or twenty years! Careful- Don’t bankrupt the taxpayers as your kids and grandkids will be picking up the tab!

            1. jimmy says:

              @paul: “rentacop- Our IRA’s and 401k’s are doing much better the past few years! ”

              You mean since Obama took over?

            2. Jane Swisshelm says:

              You don’t know how pensions work, do you? I have been contributing to mine for 40 years.

              1. rentacop says:

                I contributed to my pension for 30 years and now receive a monthly check. I have received far more than I ever contributed. Unions aren’t the total answer but because of mine, I am now living a comfortable retirement.

            3. rentacop says:


              Sorry to burst your bubble but I’m not a government employee. I retired from a private sector company with a union pension and you or nobody else has paid any of my pension.

        2. Jack Anderson says:

          Me too Paul. Got out of the Union environment — morale went up, productivity went up, work was much more enjoyable and my rewards were significantly better! Tough for me to swallow all of the Union rehtoric.

    2. Jane Swisshelm says:

      Define Socialist for us.

      1. Jack Anderson says:

        Jane Swisshelm died a long, long time ago!

  5. G Dog says:

    It is, Duanes. Work someplace else. Like Mississippi.

  6. Vote Union YES! says:

    This is nothing more than a cheap trick being used by the GOP to bust unions.
    The majority of government employees have already voted that they want a union.
    Why aren’t GOP supporters complaining about unions in private sector jobs?
    They have to pay for there services too, nothing is free.

  7. rentacop says:

    you don’t like unions ? Like everyone is saying, there are plenty of non-union jobs out there, GO GET ONE

  8. Jane Swisshelm says:

    After the Republicans bust the unions, their corporate supporters will be able to reduce everyone’s wages and take away their benefits. That is why they have set private workers against public workers. Divide and conquer is their game plan and in the end we will all have the right to work for less.

    1. On your Marx, Lenin, Stalin says:

      Keep drinking the progressive Kool Aid Jane. The fact is that private company profits fund 100% of all government. Without private business the government would cease to exist. This country was not built on hand outs, but on opportunties provided to free people in free markets.

      1. Jane Swisshelm says:

        Dream on

    2. rentacop says:

      RE: Jane.

      When the Republicans bust all the Unions in this country, I’ve got some ocean front propery in Arizona to sell you. You need a reality check !! Either that or change flavors of that Kook Aid you’re drinking.

  9. Paul says:

    rentacop –
    Only 7% of the private sector is unionixzed today, so they have already become extinct. Only the public sector still has unions and as FDR said, there is a confilct of interest there and that’s why he advised against allowing the public sector to unionize. Taxpayers can no longer afford to pay government workers to retire in their fifties as people are living ten years longer than they were just fifty years ago.

    1. Orrest says:

      Are all of the anti union of government workers so stupid as to not realize the government negotiated these contract. The union did not dictate the terms, they negotiated them.

  10. G Dog says:

    Feudalism didn’t work the first time around, I don’t understand why the GOP wants to give it another try…..

  11. rentacop says:

    7% or 30%, All those private sector Unions are all strong and doing well.

    1. Pat says:

      Yes, and producing good products for their comapnies, and good wages and benefits for the memberships! Unions are excellent for both the employer and the employee. Look at the mess going on in Wisconsin with all the workplace hassles from their deunionization of the government and schools. .

  12. Duh Time says:

    Imagine a boss telling you, your kids will need to come in after they are let out of school and do the janitor work for the company. Once these Right ‘Wing’ To Work ideas starts flowing, per se, Newt Gengrich. Hell really becomes a bottomless pit, even as fools believe
    they are receiving the limitless eternity of Heaven. Ah! 21st century Republicans; what a Foxy and cunning breed. ALEC rules. A few billion dollars invested so far, but ALEC stands to profit in the trillions.

  13. just a thought says:

    This is all pretty hilarious to read. I like the “cushy govt. job” and “retiring in their 50’s” comments the most. Pretty sure that cops, firefighters MNDOT workers dont have a cushy job, and most wait to retire until they can get medicare at 65 because the health benefits are too expensive and that “lavish” retirement that they supposedly get is not nearly enough to live on and cover the costs of health benefits. Unlike all in the private sector, the cops, firefighters, plow drivers, road workers ect. have been making their 20 bucks an hour keeping your tails safe in the cushy burning house, or the cushy city streets fighting with thugs, or staying up all night so you dont have to drive through snow to get to work or the roads are patched so your lexus doesnt pop a tire. COPS AND FIREFIGHTERS CANT STRIKE LIKE YOU CAN TO GET THEIR POINT ACROSS. So without a union they pretty much just have to take what the city offers without negotiations. Next time you think public employees are over paid, go drive by a fire station, mndot station or police station. Look at the cars / trucks in the parking lot. Then take a cruise by the USbank center, or wells fargo building (people you pay very high mortgage interest to), or better yet check out the salaries of those foreclosing on your neighbors home. Then tell me the public employees are overpaid with lavish retirement packages.

    1. Grynch says:

      There it is again. There are only two arguments you get from liberals when speaking of unions. Either they pay fair wages and treat their workers well, or it’s just a tough job and a rough life when working for one. Which one is it?

      1. The old nurse says:

        Your comment would make better sense if your head could get some air. Police and fire fighters have a toygh, rough job yet thanks to a union they are treated fairly. They can earn a decent wage but will not be driving the Lexus.

  14. Pat says:

    Union membership produces higher wages, better leave benefits, better retirement benefits, and better working conditions.

    I think Minnesotans need to pass a Constitutional amendment that mandates union membership for all workers. Everyone working for a wage would benefit and dues could be much, much lower. That would be a good deal for most of us!

    1. Grynch says:

      Yea so that we can all be equal as workers and bound together by a piece of paper, no merit, no incentives to excel, and all businesses can end up like NWA or the Ford Ranger plant. It’s borderline communism.

      I’ve worked private sector my whole life and have always been treated fairly without the need of unions and the best part is that I maintain my sense of independence in the work place, the harder I work the more I benefit, nothing is guaranteed I actually have to earn it not just sign a piece of paper and pay dues.

      1. The old nurse says:

        My is it not nice that you have led such a charmed life. Try some history of workplace life pre unions and thjen use what little brains you have and figure out why it changed. I think you might be able to read so try something like David Edward O’Connor and Christopher C. Faille their book is”Basic Economic Principles: A Guide for Students

  15. rentacop says:

    I’m glad that all you union nay sayers have good jobs with great wages and good working conditions. What about your retirement plan and monthly retirement checks ? You have to look to the future not just the present. My union provided me with good wages, great benefits, and now a lifetime monthly pension check. Yes, I paid union dues for 30 years but the company I worked for contributed more towards my benefit package than I did.

    1. Grynch says:

      My employer matches 100% of what I decide to deposit into my 401k. I’m still young so I should have a good chunk of change considering the fact that my contribution is doubled every pay period. I also have full benefits, profit sharing, and commission incentives. They treat me just fine, no need for a union.

      1. G Dog says:

        Until you are making too much and they can hire a young gun at 1/2 to 1/3 your wage.

        1. The old nurse says:

          That doesn’t happen anywhere. G DOg you must be makeing that up. Every employer values theiir senior employees for their skill and dedication. They have far morrre wisdom than money could buy. Grynch will never be fired from hiss job at McDonals

          1. MN Atheist says:

            It happened to my father in law. He had been with electrolux for over 10 years and worked his way up from the manufacturing floor to being a department manager. He was walked out one day without notice. And they didn’t even try to hide the reason, told him on the way out that they were getting rid of three higher paid managers to save money…

  16. Earn your own way in life says:

    I have been in the private sector all of my working life. Retiring next year at 55 with the $4.4 milliion I have saved, earned and invested. Never needed a union to restrain me from the free market. I have always thought that unions are for the lazy, worthless hacks who need a babysitter to make it in life.

    1. rentacop says:

      Good for you. That makes two of us that will have a good life. I retired at 50 and am now 68. By the way, I’m not lazy or worthless. I worked hard to put our three sons through college and have nothing but good things to say for the company I worked for. I might not have that 4.4 million to fall back on but my wife and I are doing just fine thank you. Good luck with your retirement.

  17. KEVIN says:

    I received an automatic 1350 dollar raise when we voted a union out of our shop. The union would no longer listen to it’s rank and file members only the international who have become the people they hate. BIG BISNESS. NOT TO MENTION SICK PAY AND FLOATING HOLIDAYS. Unions are not what they seem.

  18. j speedbag64 says:

    the mn gop is lame

  19. j speedbag64 says:

    pulling the wool over our eyes during the day and pulling down the underwear of their staffers at night……thats how the gop works it

  20. G Dog says:

    True story:

    A worker at JC Penney’s who waited on me Monday was back at work after taking a week’s vacation with the blessing of her manager. She returned to find that her hours had been cut by 50% to 20 hours a week which made her ineligible for benefits. Tearfully, she told me that she had had 16 years of exceptional evaluations by her superiors and was distraught at what she was going to do to provide for her daughter. The manager’s rationale? He had to increase profits by cutting costs.

    By the way, she is not a member of a union and by the responses on this post, I guess it’s just “tough” that she is in this position, because profits count more than people.

    1. not quite says:

      Ok if she’s been there 16 years and hasn’t risen to having to wait on you, she deserves what she endures. Everybody is a victim. Maybe take 4 of thoase 16 years, get some education and better your situation or alternatively don’t have kids if your job is retail at Pennies.

  21. angelcarver says:

    unions are destroying jobs in America. time to put a stop to their greediness and all that stuff.

  22. G Dog says:

    Wait ’til your boss grabs your butt, angel. Your word against his and guess which way that will go.

    1. angelcarver says:

      my boss would not do such a thing. she is not part of a union. it is only in the unions that type of stuff happens and stuff.

  23. angelcarver says:

    what did i tell you. unions are the downfall of the “working” class and all that.

  24. Rubble says:

    Why are some of you so quick to turn Minnesota into a Mississippi, Alabama or Georgia? Think about it.

  25. Don Seaquist says:

    many commenters do not realize that union members can under current law, opt out of their unions non representational expenditures (political). Public employee law calls it Fair Share and private sector law calls it Beck rights (court decision). they are then called fee paying non members. they DO pay for representational costs, so they continue to pay at least 85% of their dues depending on individual local union expenditures. What these fee paying non members lose is their right to VOTE on their union contract. Why give up your right to vote, ever.

  26. Rubble says:

    I pay union dues and I write them off on my taxes. The union I belong to does not allow any union dues to be given to Political parties. Any money given is voluntary. This just goes to show how many people on this page are uniformed on unions. I cant believe there are so many people that want MN to be be like Mississippi and Alabama. Its a race to the bottom.

  27. gcr says:

    Join a union or don’t , should be an individuals choice. Better question right now is what is with everything being an amendment? If that is how the GOP wants to do it, everything by a vote on the ballot, why do we need the legislature? They should meet 1 week a year, decide what is to be on the ballot, then go home and do something productive.

  28. Don Seaquist says:

    There is bipartisan opposition to this legislation. The bill sponsors should recognize that this bill will not pass in either House or Senate. It is time to do the work of the people not corporate national interests and work on legislation that helps MN improve its economy.
    Move on Rep Thompson. You lost. We will remember this wasted effort during your re-election campaign.

  29. MN Atheist says:

    Let me ask you this. Would you like to work a job where a group of elected officials were your “boss”? Does anyone here really trust politicians? Would you trust them to treat you fairly? Or do you think they will do whatever it takes to keep the budget down (except foregoing their pet projects or their own wages) even if it means cutting employees and their wages? Probably not. So as public employees we need a union to help us negotiate our wages and benefits. And as someone posted above, my job is not cushy and I don’t live a lavish lifestyle. I am broke just like everyone else.

  30. barrister says:

    Right to work=Right to work for less!

  31. angelcarver says:

    i would rather work for less, than not have a job at all and stuff.

  32. angelcarver says:

    unions are the leeches that suck the life out of empoyers and all that.

  33. Fred Hayek says:

    Why should a worker not have the right to be in an union or not? Why the union coercion necessary?

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