If anyone wondered how Gov. Mark Dayton feels about the Republican plan known as "right to work,'' he cleared it up this morning.
Speaking at a fundraiser for Minneapolis City Council Member Gary Schiff, Dayton was riffing on the Republicans' characterization of Ellen Anderson as "extreme." The Senate voted to refuse to confirm Anderson on Monday as chair of the Public Utilities Commission, and Dayton moved her to the executive branch as an energy advisor.
On Thursday, Republicans in the House and Senate introduced the "right to work" concept as a constitutional amendment, which would get around Dayton's veto pen and take the issue directly to voters. "Right to work" states that employees cannot be required to be union members as a condition of employment, and allows workers to opt out of union membership. Supporters also refer to the amendment as "employee freedom."
“Who is extreme? Who’s extreme?" Dayton asked the group. "Right to work, come on folks. We’ve had Republican legislatures and Republican governors and nobody’s every run that one up to try to get a constitutional amendment....
"Employee freedom? Freedom to work for substandard wages? Look at the states that have right to work and compare their salary wage levels with states that don’t. The states that don’t have higher standards of living for their people. Better education systems. Better opportunity for people to at least negotiate for decent wages and retirement benefits and health care and the like."
Referring to Republican majorities in the House and Senate, the DFL: governor said: "And these people, they’re just hell-bent on their own agenda. They don’t even take the bills up with anybody else, not the DFLers, not me. They just ram them through so they can go home and they think somehow that’s going to appeal to the people of Minnesota.
"Well, I know the people of Minnesota better than that.”
Eric Roper contributed to this report