ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers are primed to adopt legislation giving idled workers longer-lasting jobless benefits when locked out by their companies in labor fights.

A bill set for final action in the House and Senate this week would entitle locked-out workers to as much as a half-year in additional unemployment benefits, on top of the 26 weeks they can claim now.

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Democratic Rep. Tim Mahoney says the provision is meant to make companies think harder about side effects of locking out employees during contract disputes. Unemployment claims typically affect premiums companies pay for unemployment insurance.

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Opponents argue the measure unfairly tilts the bargaining table balance toward unions.

House lawmakers initially sought up to three years of lockout unemployment benefits, but senators entered negotiations with no add-on.

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