Jason George, Leader of Minnesota’s Largest Construction Union, Responds to the Failure of Another Special Session to Address the Looming Economic Crisis

Another special session another failure. Our members have contacted their legislators. I have spent countless hours talking to leaders from both sides of the aisle. They all knew the stakes. Construction jobs are drying up. Projects are being cancelled or delayed. There is a looming economic crisis, and the only thing Minnesota can do to help is pass a large infrastructure bill.

They all knew that. And still, they did nothing. Still, they play politics. Still they blame instead of lead. There is no question that House Republicans own the majority of this failure. There was a good bill put before them, and they all voted no. They chose to prioritize a debate about executive powers over helping real people. This is profoundly disappointing. Our union has been one that has made a point to reach out to Republicans. I count many House Republicans as close allies, including Minority Leader Daudt. They have delivered on jobs in the past and shown a genuine commitment to the men and women of this union.

In my view, the Minnesota House Republicans have now lost their way. Their priorities are not with the people, but with the political fight. They showed last night they are more interested in punishing the Governor than creating jobs.

Their behavior doesn’t excuse the lack of leadership by others involved however. There were mistakes made in these negotiations, big ones. The fact that all four caucus leaders were not meeting and not engaged on bonding is something that just can’t happen. When you don’t talk, things inevitably breakdown. The fact that it appears they didn’t even meet yesterday at all to talk about an infrastructure bill is inexcusable.

The skilled tradesmen and women of Local 49 don’t get to point fingers. We don’t get to walk away when things are tough. We also don’t get to quit when we sit across the negotiating table from someone that’s being difficult or that we deeply disagree with. In this union, we stay, we stick, and we get the job done. If we don’t, we get fired. Period.

Our government needs to work the same way. We cannot accept anything less. The Governor should call the legislature back into special session right now, and they should sit there, talking to each other not tweeting, until they get their job done for the hard working men and women in the trades that build and maintain this state. To do anything less is a complete failure on all their parts.

Click here to view the press release issued to the media.

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