Minnesota House of Representatives
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May 16, 2023
Minnesota House passes Labor and Industry Conference Committee Report
SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Today, the Minnesota House passed its Labor and Industry budget conference committee report on a vote of 70-61. The bill includes the Economic Development Finance and Policy Committee budget, the Workforce Development Finance and Policy Committee budget, and the Labor & Industry Committee budget. The bill protects and supports Minnesota’s workers by improving safety and workforce standards for workers in warehouses, meatpacking facilities, nursing homes, and combative sports.
Chair of the Labor and Industry Finance Committee, Rep. Michael V. Nelson (DFL – Brooklyn Park) issued the following statement:
“The House Labor Committee has one major priority: Minnesota’s workers,” said Rep. Nelson. “Our budget bill makes major strides to improve worker safety for Minnesotans who are working in unsafe facilities and under unfair labor practices. Workers are the heartbeat of Minnesota’s economy, and by protecting our workforce, we are protecting our prosperity and our future. Thanks to the DFL trifecta and my colleagues who worked hard to get this on its feet, this is the best labor package we’ve passed in years.”
Under the bill, the Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) will create a new ergonomic program within the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to focus on warehouses, meatpacking, and health care by increasing outreach to employers, training, and safety grants.
“DFLers are continuing to put workers first. Our budget prioritizes worker protections and safe working conditions,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “ DFLers are committed to ensuring every worker is safe and treated with dignity at work while having the economic security they deserve for themselves and their families.”
Another notable item in the bill is Earned Sick and Safe time, which passed the House Floor earlier this session. All Minnesotans deserve the opportunity to be successful, but too many must choose between work and taking care of themselves or a loved one. Our bill guarantees one hour of paid Earned Sick and Safe Time for every 30 hours worked, up to at least 48 hours per year for all Minnesota workers.
The bill also updates penalties on employers for OSHA violations to put Minnesota in conformity with Federal OSHA standards. Currently, the State is out of compliance with OSHA and is at risk of losing the authority to operate our own program through DLI. Blocks by the previously GOP-led Senate have stopped similar efforts in past years, leaving Minnesota with some of the lowest OSHA penalties in the country.
“We must ensure Minnesotans are at the center of our workplace protections,” said Rep. Kaela Berg, vice chair of the House Labor and Industry Committee. “Moving Minnesota into conformity with federal OSHA standards is an important step to keep our state OSHA system in place, which both employers and workers support. Now that we have a DFL-led Senate, we can pass these provisions that the previous GOP Senate had blocked for the past two years.”
The bill also contains provisions to improve conflict resolution for public employees by strengthening the Public Employee Relations Board. Since its implementation, the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) has been severely underfunded due to GOP control in the Senate, forcing public employees to bring employer violations to court for resolution, wasting taxpayer dollars on court and attorney fees to resolve workplace disputes. This year’s budget bill properly funds PERB so that public employers are held accountable for labor violations without going to court.
Other items in the bill include provisions to require licensing for solar panel installers, strengthen protections against wage theft, implement training programs for apprenticeships in clean energy, and create more energy-efficient infrastructure. The bill language can be accessed hereand a spreadsheet of the investments made in the budget bill can be accessed here. Video of the floor session will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel.