Public employees union preparing members for possible shutdown
May 19, 2011 — 6:31pm
The state's largest public employees union is starting to prepare its nearly 20,000 employees for a shutdown.
"We are telling them we need to prepare to go for some period of time to go without a pay check," said Eliot Seide, executive director of AFSCME Council 5. The union gave Gov. Mark Dayton his first campaign endorsement when he appeared to be a long-shot candidate.
Seide said members are fully behind Dayton's tax increase proposal and he hopes the meltdown at the Capitol doesn't come to shutdown in July but it could.
Seide said the workers will not be "pawns in a game to try to defeat the governor's proposals. Our people are too smart for that."
For public workers, the possibility of shutdown will become very real if there is not budget deal by June 8 -- that's when lay off notices will go out preparing employees for the possibility of a shutdown.
Seide said his union will talk to employees in advance to let them know to adjust to the possibility, including talking to their creditors, landlords, credit cards.
The public employees union is also planning to rally at the Capitol Monday night -- the last night of the legislative session to try to convince Republican lawmakers to get their job done.
"We do our jobs...now we are going to see if the legislators are going to get their jobs done," he said.
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