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Organized Labor Praises New Minnesota Jobs Bill

Following the release of a new statewide jobs plan Tuesday, the Minnesota chapter of the AFL-CIO announced its adamant support.

“With his jobs proposal, Governor [Mark] Dayton recognizes that Minnesota’s recent economic gains are no excuse for complacency,” Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson declared in a statement.

The governor’s jobs plan is estimated to cost $842 million in infrastructure projects in the hopes of creating more than 23,900 jobs statewide.

“While most Minnesotans are working again, many of those jobs don’t pay living wages or offer benefits. Public investment in infrastructure is a proven way to create truly family sustaining jobs,” Knutson continued. “The Governor’s plan also recognizes the need for jobs and infrastructure improvements in Greater Minnesota, with a larger percentage of the proposed projects located outside the Twin Cities.”

It is not uncommon for labor unions to support increased infrastructure spending since they usually make great gains for such state investments. Under a policy known as Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), labor unions gain the ability to decide who is hired to work on the projects.

“Successful bidders – whether union or non-union – will then hire workers for the project through the union referral system,” the state AFL-CIO detailed on an informational page. “The referral system ensures that all workers have top-notch training in safety and the crafts, which prevents costly mistakes and accidents.”

Nevertheless, Knutson argues the jobs bill is needed to benefit workers and the state. He also urged Republicans to support it.

“Given their campaign promise to focus on Greater Minnesota, House Republicans should reconsider their opposition to a jobs bill this year,” he concluded. “With today’s jobs bill proposal and his previously announced comprehensive transportation plan, Governor Dayton has laid out a path to improving infrastructure and creating tens of thousands of good jobs throughout Minnesota.”

A spokesman for the Minnesota Management and Budget Office detailed to The Daily Caller News Foundation that it will depend on the type of project but when it comes to construction they tend to go primarily to union members. Much of the governor’s job bill is construction projects including railway transportation upgrades, dam and waterway improvements and housing development for the poor.

Andy Burns, the executive director of the state Libertarian Party, notes that though he is not certain, he would not be surprised if the bill is designed to benefit unions.

“If you are a betting man I’d say the unions will likely get something out of this,” Burns told TheDCNF.

Burns also went onto argue that the projects being proposed in the jobs bill would also be better handled through private industry.

“Government doesn’t create jobs,” Burns declared. “We need to marketize these functions.”

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.



 

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