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Labor 2012
Close races will decide if
pro-labor majority wins control of legislature

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 26, 2012

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

MINNEAPOLIS — In the 1960s, the word “radical” conjured up an image of a left-wing agitator with long hair and unkempt clothes who was seeking to overthrow the capitalist system.

Times have changed. Nowadays, the radicals sport close-cropped hair or fancy hair-dos and business attire, but today’s radicals are right-wing extremists intent on overturning 100 years of social progress to advance civil rights, women’s rights — and the right to collective bargaining.

In the 2012 session of the Minnesota legislature, right-wing radicals in the Republican Party introduced a constitutional amendment to make Minnesota a “Right to Work” state. And they nearly succeeded in getting the measure on the November ballot.

Minnesota’s unions mobilized to stop the amendment from passing the legislature, however, with support from every Democratic legislator and a handful of courageous and principled moderate Republican legislators.

For Minnesota’s labor movement, electing a pro-labor majority to the state legislature is the top priority of the 2012 elections.

“The control of our state legislative bodies will be determined by a very small margin, but will deliver lasting consequences,” says Chelsie Glaubitz, political director of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation.

“If we see a Republican majority in the House and Senate in 2013, it will be the one of the most conservative in our state’s history — moderate Republicans are being pushed out by their own party,” Glaubitz notes.

One example: longtime Republican Representative Steve Smith, a moderate who supported labor, failed to win his own party’s endorsement this year and then lost the Republican primary.

“I fear the few remaining moderate Republicans who have been willing to stand up for working families will be silenced by their party’s leadership,” Glaubitz says.

Over the past few months, the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation has targeted eight races to help win a pro-labor majority in the legislature, reaching out to union members in these districts with phonebanks and doorknocks.

(See below for links to profiles of labor-endorsed candidates in the MRLF’s targeted races).

The outcome of these state legislative races will help determine whether Minnesota will again be known as “a state that works” — a leader in education for the 21st century and a leader in developing local businesses and good jobs.

If Republicans keep their current majority control of both the Minnesota House and Senate, however  — and either of the two constitutional amendments on the 2012 ballot passes — expect an even bigger push by extremists in the party to make Minnesota a “Right to Work” state with a constitutional amendment in the next statewide election.

See MRLF Get-Out-The-Vote volunteer opportunities.

MRLF Targeted Races

> Senate District 48

Laurie McKendry: Brings a business background and social justice values
(Minneapolis Labor Review, 10-26-12)
> House District 48A
Yvonne Selcer: Former school board chair knows budgets, compromise
(Minneapolis Labor Review, 10-26-12)
> Senate District 37
Alice Johnson: Legislative veteran wants to restore 'a Minnesota that works'
(Minneapolis Labor Review, 10-26-12)
> Senate District 36
John Hoffman: Anoka school board member offers skills for MN Senate
(Minneapolis Labor Review, 10-26-12)
> House District 36A
Grace Baltich: Union leader, social worker, is called to ‘improve lives’
(Minneapolis Labor Review, 10-26-12)
> Senate District 49
Melisa Franzen: Urges re-focus, ‘creating jobs should be number one priority’
(Minneapolis Labor Review, 10-26-12)
> House District 49A
Ron Erhardt: ‘I know how to meet in the middle… and get things done’
(Minneapolis Labor Review, 10-26-12)
> House District 49B
Paul Rosenthal: Advocate for small business and infrastructure needs
(Minneapolis Labor Review, 10-26-12)



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