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Labor committee's omnibus policy bill heads to House Floor on party-line vote

Significant changes to labor law could be around the corner for Minnesota workers — particularly unionized educators.

The House Labor and Industry Finance and Policy Committee approved its omnibus policy bill Thursday. Following the adoption of a delete-all amendment, HF1522 was sent to the House Floor on a 6-5 party-line vote.

Sponsored by Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park), the amended bill clocks in at 33 pages and touches on many areas of employer-employee relations. But its most substantive provisions consist of updates to the Public Employment Labor Relations Act. This law that governs collective bargaining and unionization rights in the public sector would be modified in the following ways:

  • dissemination of employee personnel data to public sector unions required for several purposes, such as conducting elections and investigating grievances;
  • payment of state employee salaries and benefits guaranteed in the event of a state government shutdown;
  • payroll deduction allowed for union dues and political fund contributions;
  • employers would be obligated to provide union representatives with contact information of and face-to-face time with both newly hired and all bargaining unit employees; and
  • workplace unionization enabled without going through the process of a formal election if over 50% of employees provide authorization for representation. 

Additional updates to this law pertain specifically to public education, such as:

  • permitting unlicensed pre-K educators, Tier 1 K-12 teachers, and part-time professors at the Minnesota State system to join a union;
  • shortening the probationary period of newly hired K-12 teachers under various circumstances; and
  • placing K-12 class sizes, student testing, and student-to-personnel ratios under the “terms and conditions of employment” to be negotiated during collective bargaining.

Other notable provisions of the bill include:

  • prohibiting employers from compelling employee attendance at meetings that discuss religious matters, political issues, or arguments against unionization; 
  • banning restrictive franchise agreements, under which fast food restaurants and other chain businesses collude to not hire each other’s workers without the worker’s knowledge; and
  • establishing clear building and permitting standards for the construction of tiny homes by houses of worship to shelter the unhoused.

Much of the debate hinged on the proposed revisions of PELRA, which proved especially controversial with Republicans.

“We just feel that that is an overreach of government,” said Rep. Joe McDonald (R-Delano). “We just think it’s pretty far-reaching and disrupts current state law now in collective bargaining.”

He unsuccessfully offered an amendment that would have deleted this language, maintaining the status quo for the public sector workforce.


The following are selected bills that have been incorporated in part or in whole into the omnibus labor policy bill:

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