Bobby Kasper: Let’s make sure the next Legislature stands with workers

I breathed a sigh of relief when the Minnesota Legislature finally adjourned the 2012 session. It meant an end to the seemingly endless string of Republican attacks on Minnesota’s working families – attacks on our union rights, attacks on our wages and pensions, attacks on our voting rights and more.

I’m writing today to say “thank you” to everyone who helped us fight these right-wing attacks at the Capitol over the last three months.

Some of you volunteered to staff our phone banks, where we called union members and asked them to talk to their legislators about the irresponsible “Right to Work” constitutional amendment. Others of you joined us at the Capitol, where we maintained a visible presence advocating on behalf of good jobs, safe workplaces and a strong middle class.

By putting aside our differences and working together as union brothers and sisters, we kept “Right to Work” off the ballot this November. We also helped pass an infrastructure-jobs bill and a stadium bill that, together, will succeed in putting thousands of Minnesotans back to work in high-paying, construction-industry jobs. That’s a good start toward getting Minnesota’s economy going in the right direction again.

I’m proud of what we accomplished together during the 2012 session. And I know I can count on union members to join us again this summer and fall, as our staff at the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation puts our Labor 2012 political plan into action.

Together, we can make sure that when the Legislature reconvenes in 2013, we’re not fighting the same battles we fought over the last three months.

The 2012 legislative session found Minnesota unions in a collective panic, and it is simply because we did not have enough labor friendly legislative allies at the Capitol. The upcoming Fall elections give us a valuable opportunity to reverse that.

Working together, we will win seats for political allies who will work arm-in-arm with labor as partners to drive toward a better tomorrow – a tomorrow in which preserving our state’s middle class is once again the top priority of our elected officials. Over the last two years, we’ve learned that for too many state legislators, workers and jobs do not rank among the top priorities. This Fall we will change that.

We will win this fall because the strength of labor is unmatched and because our brothers and sisters will fight for our present and fight for our future.  We will win because we have the strength.

We will win because there is no other way.

– Bobby Kasper is president of the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, and a member of Laborers Local 132. Reach him at rkasper [at] stpaulunions [dot] org.

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