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Labor-backed legislation continues moving forward in MN House and Senate


The clock is ticking for the 2023 session of the Minnesota legislature, which must adjourn by May 22.




Adapted from the Minneapolis Labor Review, April 29, 2023

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

SAINT PAUL — As the Labor Review went to press April 20, labor-backed legislation continued to move forward in both the Minnesota House and Senate.

“You might have noticed — things are getting done around here,” said Governor Tim Walz, speaking at a March 21 rally organized by the Minnesotans for Paid Family & Medical Leave coalition.

“Paid Family and Medical Leave will get done,” Walz said. That legislation —House File 2 and Senate File 2 — is one of the top priorities for the Minnesota AFL-CIO.

Here’s a brief rundown of the status of other labor-backed legislation at press time — with the caveat that things can change quickly at the legislature:

Transportation Funding. The Minnesota House passed a historic transportation funding bill April 19, providing $8.8 billion in funding for roads, bridges, and transit systems and creating several new dedicated sources of funding. The Laborers union in particular celebrated passing of this bill. In the Senate, however, some dedicated funding measures in the House bill — like a metro area sales tax and a fee applied to deliveries — appear to lack support and may be decreased or dropped.

Keeping Nurses At the Bedside Act. This legislation, urged by the Minnesota Nurses Association, would give nurses a voice in ensuring safe staffing levels. The bill passed the Senate as part of the Health and Human Services Omnibus Bill.

Home Care Workers Contract. In passing of the omnibus Human Services appropriation bill, the Senate also included funding for SEIU Healthcare’s historic home care contract that covers more than 20,000 home care workers across the state. “The contract includes a 25 percent increase of the wage floor to $20 per hour in 2025… and one-time $1,000 retention bonus to reward long-time caregivers,” SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa reported.

Unemployment Insurance for Hourly School Staff. The Minnesota House has passed the omnibus education finance bill, which includes a change to state law so that hourly school staff who work in K-12 schools and college staff whose jobs don’t run through the summer are eligible for unemployment insurance. This fix to state law has been a top priority for SEIU Local 284, whose members struggle to survive in summer months.

Refinery Safety. This legislation, backed by Teamsters Local 120, passed the Senate floor April 17 with a bi-partisan vote of 39 yes and 27 no. The bill would require petroleum refinery workers to complete an apprentice and training program to ensure worksite safety.

Ban Private Prisons. A priority for AFSCME Council 5, the House passed legislation to ban private prisons in Minnesota. The bill currently is in the Senate’s Judiciary and Public Safety committee.

The 2023 session of the Minnesota legislature is scheduled to adjourn by May 22.

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