On Wednesday, August 12, Governor Walz will call the Minnesota House and Senate back for a special session to extend the state’s ongoing COVID-19 peacetime emergency. While many Minnesotans’ eyes will be focused towards the Capitol during the session, the Minnesota AFL-CIO has long kept a constant vigil on the State Legislature to advocate for working Minnesotans.
“The Minnesota AFL-CIO serves as the state Labor Movement’s collective voice at the State Capitol,” said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy. “We advocate for union members and all working Minnesotans so we can build a more just and fair state for everyone.”
The Minnesota AFL-CIO’s legislative work starts with the General Board, made up of affiliate union representatives, agreeing to a shared set of priorities before each year’s session.
“These are priorities that impact union members across our movement and workers who don’t have the benefit of a union advocating on their behalf,” said Minnesota AFL-CIO Legislative Director Melissa Hysing. “Those priorities determine how we focus our advocacy throughout the legislative session.”
Despite a divided Legislature, many Minnesota AFL-CIO legislative priorities have been successful in recent years including protections against wage theft, keeping MinnesotaCare funded, expanding the Working Families Tax Credit, the first steps of police reform, and stopping corporate tax giveaways, and more.
Shortly after Governor Walz declared the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, the Minnesota AFL-CIO moved an emergency set of legislative priorities. Those priorities were designed to ensure working people are properly protected on the job and to promote economic recovery.
Thanks to the Minnesota AFL-CIO’s and affiliate unions’ advocacy, Governor Walz has issued a series of Executive Orders to protect workers including expanding unemployment insurance & workers compensation, protecting workers from retaliation, and designating grocery store employees as frontline workers.
The fight to empower workers and create the jobs we need both during and after this emergency will continue and the Minnesota AFL-CIO will be on the front lines advocating for working people.