Union workers pack Capitol as 'right to work' proposal goes to Senate committee

Union members by the hundreds filed into the state Capitol on Monday morning as a group of Senate lawmakers discussed a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it harder for unions to organize. Critics of the bill say it would lower wages and cut benefits for middle-class families. Supporters say it would help businesses create new jobs.
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Union members by the hundreds filed into the state Capitol on Monday morning as a group of Senate lawmakers discussed a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it harder for unions to organize. Critics of the bill say it would lower wages and cut benefits for middle-class families. Supporters say it would help businesses create new jobs.

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Leaders in the AFL-CIO, which produced the ad that starts airing Tuesday, says the bill is "a power grab" meant to weaken collective bargaining. Union members worry it would ultimately lead to less compensation for middle-class families, but Republican legislators behind the bill say it would attract new business and create jobs.

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Republican Senator Dave Thompson of Lakeville is pushing a proposal that would allow Minnesota workers to opt out of unions. If lawmakers pass his "right to work" legislation, the question would appear before voters in the fall as a proposed amendment to the state Constitution.

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