St. Paul, MN (July 2, 2021) The legislative session wrapped up yesterday securing some big wins for worker safety, infrastructure funding that will secure thousands of jobs for Building and Construction Trades affiliates and members, additional financial support to help combat the exploitation of workers and investigate wage theft, along with commitments that will advance clean energy. Overall, the recent legislative session was a success but there were some extremely disappointing decisions made in the Senate that stood in stark contrast with Building Trades top priorities, namely the inability to pass the Refinery Safety bill and the inability to pass a bonding bill.
Joe Fowler, President of the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council stated “In the last few days of session some important legislation was passed that will take a significant step forward towards investing in Minnesota’s aging infrastructure. Legislation that will help create a more stable path to clean energy production that will also create jobs for the skilled and trained local workers in organized labor. Legislation that helps combat wage theft and strengthens enforcement and funds additional OSHA staff all of which help to protect the workers in the field. Those investments along with added language in the Public Safety bill that requires oil refineries to maintain full-time fire departments were all key initiatives supported by the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council.”
“These different pieces of legislation will create a better, safer working environment for everyone in the construction industry and will help make the communities that surround the refineries safer. We continue to be concerned and extremely disappointed that the Refinery Safety language that had bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate just a few days before, was removed from the Omnibus Jobs Bill along a party line vote in the Senate by Republicans. However, the Building and Construction Trades will not give up on worker safety and we have a renewed commitment by many of those same state Senators who voted against the Refinery Safety bill to meet with local leaders, refinery management, and legislators to work on a solution ahead of the next legislative session to get it done. The Minnesota Building and Construction Trades will be there every step of the way holding our elected representatives to that commitment. It’s not hard to understand that protecting both the workers and surrounding communities by ensuring that only highly trained workers are employed at the refineries in our state is the right decision to make. We will continue to work to build bipartisan support for the refinery safety legislation.
About the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council: Representing 70,000 skilled union construction professionals working in 15 trades, the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council is focused on growing a diverse and inclusive construction industry workforce, protecting the physical and financial health of construction workers, and advocating for increased public and private investment in construction and infrastructure. For more information about the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council visit www.mntrades.org.