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'Move to Minnesota!' Rep bids to lure Wisconsin firms unhappy with law change

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A message has been sent to companies unhappy with "right-to-work" laws set to be introduced in Wisconsin: Come to Minnesota!

Minnesota Rep. Pat Garofalo hopes to get one-up on those across the border by appealing to businesses unhappy over the move to make Wisconsin a "right to work state," which is being decided on this week and has the support of Gov. Scott Walker.

The Republican congressman from Farmington has already written to two road building firms – Hoffman Construction and Rock Road Companies – and encouraged them to move their operations to Minnesota, according to a news release.

"Wisconsin's Right To Work legislation would negatively impact the private contracts between these companies and the unions they have voluntarily decided to partner with," Garofalo, who is chairman of Minnesota's Job Growth and Energy Affordability Committee, said in the release.

"Minnesota's construction industry is among the most efficient and productive in the nation, and I welcome the opportunity to bring these headquarters to Minnesota," he added.

According to MPR News, Garofalo has spoken with two employers in Wisconsin who have told him they want to move their businesses to Minnesota – though it's not clear whether the employers in question are Hoffman and Rock Road.

What is Right to Work and why are some companies unhappy?

The Pioneer Press reports that Right to Work laws ban "union shop" contracts between companies and unions, which require all workers to pay their dues, meaning unions may end up representing workers who haven't contributed to their organization.

Arguments against include it affects union funding and weakens their collective bargaining efforts, as well as being unfair on dues-paying members. David Madland, director of the American Worker Project, writing for US News, also claims that people in Right to Work states earn $1,500-a-year less on average than others.

But supporters of the law, Reuters reports, argue that it would encourage new businesses to relocate to the state and make it easier for existing companies to retain workers.

Minnesota flirted with the idea of introducing Right to Work several years ago, but didn't get past the second committee stage.

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