As the Legislature adjourned for the year, Minnesotans are taking stock and celebrating some of the most sweeping pro-Labor legislation in state history that will improve the lives of workers in every corner of our state and across every sector.
“Our elected leaders listened to the thousands of union volunteers who knocked on doors last fall and continued to show up at the Capitol this year to enact the most pro-worker policy agendas Minnesotans have seen in more than a generation,” said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bernie Burnham. “Thanks to legislation passed this year, working Minnesotans will have the economic security and freedom to care for themselves and their loved ones, safer workplaces, more wage protections, tens of thousands of new construction jobs, fully funded schools & public services, and greater freedom to organize unions at their workplaces.”
Nearly every one of the Minnesota AFL-CIO’s 2023 legislative priorities has either become law or is waiting for Governor Walz’s signature. Historic progress was made. At the same time, there were hard fought compromises on healthcare worker safety and unfinished work regarding safe staffing. Working people will be back next year to make sure frontline healthcare workers and patients are protected.
Included in this year’s historic session is expansive Paid Family & Medical Leave legislation that will allow nearly every worker to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave to bond with a new child, recover from a major illness, or care for a sick loved one. For nearly a decade, the Minnesota AFL-CIO co-chaired Minnesotans for Paid Family Medical Leave – the coalition of 70 labor, faith, and community groups that successfully advocated for the landmark legislation.
The Minnesota AFL-CIO also led the way in passing a ban on employers holding mandatory anti-union captive audience meetings. These meetings often create a chilling effect that in many cases dooms the organizing effort, even when a significant majority of workers have signed union authorization cards to trigger an election.
Minnesota’s 2023 legislative work stands in stark contrast with many other state legislatures across the country that have weakened child labor laws, made workplaces less safe, restricted reproductive freedom and other vital medical care, and inserted extreme ideology in school curriculum.
“While other states are putting 14 and 15-year-olds to work on assembly lines, Minnesota is making sure parents have the time and resources to care for and sustain their families; while other states ban books in our schools and libraries, Minnesota is making sure no student goes hungry at school; and while other states make it harder to vote, Minnesota is expanding our Democracy to make sure every eligible voter has the freedom to make their voice heard,” added Burnham. “We are thankful to our lawmakers and Governor Walz for a transformative session that will make Minnesota the best state for working people in the nation.”