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Longtime union member Mike Sundin will chair new Labor Committee in Minnesota House

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, December 21, 2018

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

SAINT PAUL — Incoming Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman has appointed Representative Mike Sundin to chair a new Labor Committee in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Sundin, Esko, will be in his fourth term representing House District 11A in northeastern Minnesota.

Hortman told the Labor Review that the new Labor Committee represents more than just a name change. “That committee will be looking at, do jobs pay a livable wage? Earned sick and safe time? People are concerned about being able to afford their lives. That’s a committee that will look at those issues.”

Under the previous Republican House leadership, labor issues were consigned to the “Jobs and Energy Committee.”

Now, Sundin told the Labor Review, “the Labor Committee, we won’t be distracted by too many other issues. We’ll be meeting once weekly and concerned strictly with labor issues.”

He said addressing wage theft will be a focus of the Labor Committee.

And, he said, “we’ll be looking at perhaps expanding the reach of Prevailing Wage in the construction industry to include more projects that are funded through [state] grant programs that are currently not covered by Prevailing Wage.”

“If there’s legislation that we can forward that can improve the climate for labor organizing, we should be… looking at that type of legislation,” Sundin added.

Mike Sundin  
Rep. Mike Sundin  

Sundin is a 40-plus year member of Painters Local 106 based in Duluth and has served as an officer of the local for the past 30 years.

He’s also been a delegate to the Duluth Central Labor Body and, for 25 years, a member of the board of directors of the Duluth Labor World newspaper.

Sundin said he joined the painting trade years ago because “I needed a job. I needed a good job with benefits.”

As the Labor Review went to press December 15, House leadership had not  yet announced the other members of the Labor Committee.

* * *

UPDATE January 7, 2019:

The 15 Labor Committee members include:

DFLers Mike Sundin (Chair), Erin Koegel (Vice-Chair), Frank Hornstein, Mike Nelson, Todd Lippert, Jeff Brand, Anne Claflin, Rob Ecklund, John Persell, Jay Xiong.

Republicans Jason Rarick (Lead), Shane Mekeland, Bob Dettmer, Bob Vogel, Dan Fabian.

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