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There is no doubt that unions are the gateway to the middle class. From the Minnesota Nurses Association to Education Minnesota to the AFL-CIO,  Minnesota is a strong union state. Union workers are more likely to have employer-provided healthcare, paid sick leave, and a defined benefit pension plan - three pillars of a healthy household. Union contracts raise wages by roughly 20% and overall compensation by approximately 28%.

But despite the clear benefits of unions, corporations seek ways to undermine the power of collective bargaining and thus the growth of the Minnesota middle class. Too often, companies want workers who are “efficient” and yet economically insecure. Strong enough to work but too weak for collective action.  And we find this relentless drive to push down worker pay everywhere from our classrooms to our hospitals.

At this very moment, teachers in the community and technical college system, the very teachers who teach our next generation of electricians, plumbers, and nurses, are fighting MinnState for something greater than a 2.5% raise - a raise that doesn’t even keep up with inflation. Hundreds of doctors in the Allina Health system have voted to unionize as a means of resisting dangerous understaffing and other concerns about the quality of care.

Strong unions make Minnesota strong. And safe. And smart. And healthy. I’ll work tirelessly to support our unions.

Instead of setting people up to become public charges, let’s help set them up to become productive taxpayers. Let’s be generous with second chances and allow those who made mistakes to try again. Let’s implement sentencing reforms that eliminate unnecessarily long prison stays.


Let’s focus on setting our fellow humans up for success, because, at the end of the day, it is far more productive and cost-effective than setting them up to fail.

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