Transportation Funding, Prevailing Wage Threats & Right to Work Updates

Transportation Funding, Prevailing Wage Threats & Right to Work Updates

Political Director, Jason George, sent an e-mail to Local 49 members on February 14, 2017 updating them on Prevailing Wage, Transportation and Right to Work.  

A lot is happening at Local 49, here is an update from the last couple of weeks:

Local 49 Lobby Day

It is very important that we have members attend Lobby Day this year on February 28th. To be blunt, RSVPs are not good so far. I can’t emphasize enough that we need a good turnout on this day. This is your chance to do something for your jobs. Transportation funding is critical to every 49er no matter what you do.

If you are not working, you need to attend Lobby Day.

Here is a link to sign up and more details:

Lobby Day RSVP:

We will have busses at the Minneapolis hall to take us to the Capitol, also if you live outstate call your local union hall they will have busses coming to Minneapolis as well.

Transportation Funding Update

I have had a lot of conversations in the last month on this. I have spoken to Republican and Democratic Leaders both in the House and Senate and the Governor’s office. This year we have joined forces with the business community to support the outline of a compromise package that we believe can pass.

We are building momentum at the Capitol, and there is a lot of support for the plan we are putting forward. There are some roadblocks that we will need to overcome.

In March and April, be ready to put a full court press on your legislators, and the Governor to pass a comprehensive transportation funding bill this year. We are laying the groundwork now for this push, Lobby Day on February 28th is the beginning and we need you there.

Prevailing Wage Threats Update

I can report that we have had several productive meetings on this issue in the last couple of weeks. The prevailing wage bills that have been introduced so far are not gaining a lot of support in either the House or the Senate and are not moving right now, which is good. I will be keeping a close eye on this and if something does start moving in Minnesota we will need you to weigh in with your legislators.

We are also working up some plans to engage the public, and in particular non-union construction workers, more on prevailing wage. There is so much misinformation out there being pushed by people that want to lower your wages, we need to be talking more about prevailing wage, how it works, and why it is important for all construction workers. We will be doing that in the coming weeks and have a couple of campaign ideas.

Also a quick note, in Washington DC prevailing wage repeal bills are being introduced right now. These bills are not getting a lot of traction, many Republicans in both the House and the Senate do not support repeal of Davis/Bacon prevailing wage. We have a Davis/Bacon supporting Republican Congressman here in Minnesota, 6th District Representative Tom Emmer. If you live in his district and run into him, thank him for standing with you on prevailing wage.

Right to Work Update

A quick update on this. First of all, there is nothing happening on Right To Work in the Minnesota Legislature. There are enough Republicans that do not support this legislation to prevent it from moving anywhere here right now. We need to be diligent and keep doing what we are doing to educate the public and legislators on this issue; our strategy is working right now.

As you have probably heard, national right to work legislation has been introduced by Iowa Congressman Steve King. The International Union in Washington, DC is all over this and fighting it aggressively. They sent out an email to members across the nation last week encouraging you to contact your Congressperson and express your strong opposition. Hopefully you are signed up on their emails if not you can sign up by signing up for Local 49 email on our website.

For more information on this, the IUOE has set up a website to keep you informed – please take a look and pass it around. Local 49 has done a Facebook post on this and this information is on our website as well.

Here is the IUOE Stop Right to Work website:

If you want to call Congressman Steve King’s office and let them know you don’t appreciate him trying to destroy your union you can reach him at: 202-225-4426

Public Sector Members Under Attack

There are bills being introduced that are targeting the public sector. State Representative Steve Drazkowski has authored House File 768 that is a different way to allow for freeloaders and prevent unions from charging for the services they provide. There continues to be a small number of Republican legislators that don’t value public employees, and continue to try to destroy their unions. I am happy to report there are a growing number of Republicans that don’t believe this is the right thing to do.

I am also happy to report that Governor Dayton has said publicly that he will not sign bills like this. For the next two years, these proposals are simply dead on arrival in my opinion. Local 49 public employees should pay attention to who is attacking them and we will fight these kinds of proposals every step of the way, but these bills will not become law as long as Governor Dayton is in office. 

In Solidarity,

Jason George

Special Projects/Political Director