After nearly four hours of testimony and debate on March 12, the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee passed the “Right to Work” amendment 7-6.
Dozens of nurses joined an estimated 1,600 union members and friends to show our opposition to this bill that is unnecessary, unfair and unsafe. Registered Nurse Ursula Tuttle from Abbott Northwestern Hospital testified before the committee and did her colleagues and profession proud. She worked in two Right to Work states, and actually voted for a Right to Work law in Oklahoma, thinking it would create jobs. Not only did it not create jobs, it put her patients at risk.
“According to my nursing professional code of ethics my obligation is to promote, advocate for and to protect the health, safety and rights of patients. I believe that this standard suffers in Right to Work states, and in these places, the people who depend on us are not well-served.” Ursula went on to testify that the protection of a union contract gives nurses the collective power to stand up to profit-driven health care corporations on their patients’ behalf.
You can watch Ursula’s testimony here at the 8:35 mark.
Other testifiers came from a variety of professions and both ends of the political spectrum. Republican union members and business owners said that Right to Work rewards free-riders and is an unnecessary intrusion of government into the private sector. Even a labor attorney who negotiates contracts for employers testified against the bill.
At the end, one Republican joined five DFLers in opposing the amendment, with the other 7 Republicans voting for Right to Work. The next step for the bill is the Senate Rules Committee. If the Rules Committee passes the bill, it would most likely go on to a full vote of the Senate. The bill has not yet been heard in the Minnesota House. It would have to pass a full vote of both the Senate and the House to appear on the November 2012 ballot. (The Governor cannot veto a Constitutional amendment.)
We will keep you posted as developments at the Capitol happen. In the meantime, please contact your state Senator and ask him or her to vote against the Right to Work bill if it comes to the Senate for a full vote. If one of the Senators below on the Judiciary Committee represents you, please write and thank those who voted against Right to Work, and ask those who voted for it to reconsider.
YES Votes – please reconsider
Sen. Dan Hall (R-Burnsville)
Sen. Gretchen Hoffman (R-Vergas)
Sen. Mike Jungbauer (R-East Bethel)
Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove)
Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson)
Sen. Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen)
Sen. Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville, author of the bill)
NO Votes – thank for voting “no”
Sen. Barb Goodwin (DFL-Columbia Heights)
Sen. John Harrington (DFL-St. Paul)
Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria)
Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park)
Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville)
Sen. Mary Jo McGuire (DFL-Falcon Heights)