Meaningful employment means more to a person than the ability to draw a paycheck. Work contributes to self esteem, family life and community strength. John Marty believes every person who wants a job should be able to find employment, and any person who works full-time should be able to earn a living wage with health benefits and be able to retire in dignity. Every working person in Minnesota should have the right to organize and collectively bargain for wages and benefits, work in safe working conditions, and be free from intimidation and harassment. We need to return to these basic concepts of economic fairness and dignity for working people.
In recent years we have gone far from these basic rights. Minimum wage -- once understood as a minimum living wage -- no longer is enough to support an individual, let alone a family; workers who have successfully organized often see their unions broken by unfair labor practices; health care is considered a "fringe" benefit rather than a basic right; worker safety is too often sacrificed to profits; independent contracting and temporary work are replacing stable, good paying jobs, and too many businesses avoid paying benefits by forcing workers into part-time work.
It doesn't have to be this way. From the miners of the Iron Range to our school classrooms, from our small shops and factories, to our farms and food processing plants, the strength of Minnesota is in the diversity of its workforce. A good business climate must first and foremost be a good climate for workers: The two cannot thrive without each other.
Recent years have seen renegade acts by certain employers who refuse to bargain in good faith on first contracts, close plants in the middle of the night leaving workers and their communities stranded, and use unfair employer lockouts to break unions. Arne Carlson showed his disdain for workers by vetoing three important labor bills in 1993 -- the right to have a union representative present during disciplinary hearings, the right of union organizers to have equal time with employees when bosses use company time to persuade employees not to unionize, and the right to binding arbitration for first contracts. As Governor, John will promote respect for unions and working people, push for stronger collective bargaining laws and sign these three bills into law.
Ensuring universal, affordable health care is crucial to working men and women. While the labor movement once sought to make contract gains in areas such as child care, most unions are now fighting just to maintain a basic level of health care and ensure the preservation of health care and retirement benefits. Universal health care would guarantee health care coverage and eliminate health care issues from contract negotiations, reduce workers compensation costs and eliminate the fear of losing health benefits when changing jobs.
While John agrees we need to reduce the costs of workers compensation premiums, he strongly disagrees with the business community=90s tired response that cuts into injured workers' benefits should be the source of any savings. As Governor, John would reduce worker compensation costs significantly by promoting workplace safety, re-regulating the insurance industry, reducing litigation, removing health care costs from the workers comp system through a single payer health care plan and requiring companies to rehire injured workers if a job they can perform is available.
This is an issue of fairness. Minnesotans earning more than $200,000 now pay a smaller percentage of their income in combined state and local taxes than anyone else. Regressive taxes such as property taxes hit retirees and low and middle income workers the hardest.
Arne Carlson denigrates public employees while demanding higher productivity. Minnesota is not better served as a state when in the name of "cost savings" the state contracts out jobs for lower pay and fewer benefits. As Governor, John will work with public employees, empowering them to do their jobs in the most productive manner possible.
Prepared by Minnesotans for Marty, 2161 University Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55114 Telephone/Fax: (612)644-5775/644-4131