Unions back Little in Dakota County Attorney race

Matt Little

Matt Little supported the state’s groundbreaking wage theft legislation while serving in the Minnesota Senate in 2019. Now, he’s running for Dakota County Attorney to put the new law to work stopping exploitation in the workplace and on the job site.

Prosecuting wage theft cases is “totally within your purview” as county attorney, Little said. “There’s functionally no difference if you walk into someone’s house and steal money off their countertop or if you steal it off their paycheck. It’s the same thing.”

But Little said wage theft hasn’t been a top concern in the County Attorney’s Office. Pointing to allegations of worker exploitation on the Viking Lakes development in Eagan, Little said “the threat of prosecution alone would be helpful.”

Little’s interest in cracking down on labor abuses is among the reasons unions are backing the former state senator and mayor of Lakeville in the first contested election for the Dakota County post in over a decade.

“I’m the only one talking about wage theft as an issue that the Dakota County Attorney’s Office should and could enforce,” Little said. “My opponent has never even mentioned it as a priority.”

Little, whose mother was a steward in the Service Employees (SEIU) union, said he has always sought – and earned – support from organized labor in his campaigns.

“I believe it’s incredibly important to have the support of working people,” Little said. “When I was running for city office, it was true then, and it’s true for this race too. Those are the people doing the work.”

Another reason unions are backing Little is his pledge to fight for more resources and support for the people doing the work in the County Attorney’s Office.

Members of the County Attorney’s staff were among workers who joined an informational picket in September to protest the slow pace of contract negotiations between Dakota County and their unions, AFSCME locals 306, 450 and 693.

“You don’t have to look too deeply to see that there isn’t anybody fighting for staff,” he said. “We’re seeing retention problems as people leave the office for higher paying work. It doesn’t seem like anybody’s sticking up for them at all, and I want to be that voice.

“We need someone who will fight for staff and fight for union members to make sure they’re being paid competitive wages, to make sure they feel like they’re valued and they want to stay and continue putting in high quality work for the people of Dakota County.”

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