U.S. Senate and U.S. Representative

 
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LIUNA, the Laborers' International Union of North America, is a strong and proud union of workers founded by immigrants in 1903. A half-million strong across the country, we are united through collective bargaining agreements which help us earn family-supporting pay, good benefits and the opportunity for advancement and better lives.
 
Members run LIUNA, electing officers at all levels and participating in the day-to-day affairs of their Local Unions. Members set priorities for contracts and are key to the union's growth and success. The mission of LIUNA is implemented through nine Regions, more than forty District Councils and 380 Local Unions.
 
The Laborers' District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota, Minnesota’s infrastructure union, represents and serves more than 28,000 members and family members of five Local Unions: Local 363 (City of Minneapolis and City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, Public Works and Public Housing employees); Local 405 (Rochester and Southeast Minnesota); Local 563 (Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metro, Mankato, Saint Cloud and North Dakota); Local 1091 (Duluth-Superior, Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin); and Local 1097 (Iron Range and Northern Minnesota). We are your friends and neighbors building our future and quality of life.
 
LIUNA operates Minnesota’s largest and most diverse skilled construction apprenticeship program. We partner with more than 800 union contractors to enhance worker skills and promote workplace safety at our training center in Lino Lakes. Our Registered Apprenticeship Program leads a diverse workforce to job and career opportunities.
 
LIUNA is one of Minnesota's largest and most politically active unions. We are proud to support leaders who share our values and priorities:
  • Creating family-sustaining jobs
  • Protecting working peoples’ freedom to negotiate a fair return on work
  • Providing affordable health care and retirement security
  • Advancing all workers’ freedom to prosper so that we can provide for and have the time to be with our families.
LIUNA members engage in political action to protect our livelihoods. Every year thousands of LIUNA members make personal phone calls, talk to fellow members and visit the Legislature and Congress to advocate for good jobs and to hold elected leaders accountable. LIUNA members also vote and give their hard-earned wages in political contributions. We support candidates from both political parties who work with us. Our members, retirees and families want to help elect champions of working people.

Work hard and good luck on the campaign trail. We look forward to working with you in the future.

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* 1. Date:

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* 2. Candidate and campaign information:

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* 5. Are you an active, retired or former union member?

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* 6. America's infrastructure was once the envy of the world. Now, the American Society of Civil Engineers has given the United States a grade of 'D+' for the state of our physical infrastructure, from crumbling bridges to pothole-filled roads to energy blackouts and lack of clean drinking water. Investments in our national infrastructure benefit everyone. They provide good paying, steady jobs to LIUNA members who build America every day. These investments also benefit drivers, mass transit users, and businesses and consumers moving goods and services. To get the substantial investment in infrastructure needed for our nation, we need a president who will show leadership to make this a top priority and call on Congress to act immediately on a 21st Century infrastructure package.

Most federal surface transportation programs are authorized under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), a five year, $305 billion law expiring at the end of Fiscal Year 2020. Without reauthorization, the Nation will again face a road block and lack of highway funding that will result in the projects grinding to a halt and new projects being delayed or cancelled. Before the enactment of the FAST Act, surface transportation programs relied on dozens of short and mid-term extensions which forced state departments of transportation to shelve numerous projects, because, once started, delays in future funding cannot be sustained. Reauthorization of the Highway Bill is LIUNA's top legislative priority when it comes to infrastructure.

Funding for the highway programs need to come from a sustainable and dedicated revenue stream that will continue to grow as demand grows. Currently, the Highway Trust Fund is financed predominantly through an 18.3 cents per gallon tax on gasoline which hasn't been increased since the Clinton administration. LIUNA believes that an increase in this fee is the most practical way to raise revenue, given that the user fees go directly to the investments for which they were intended. Additionally, this fee is also used to fund the federal transit programs which help provide individuals' transportation options if they do not have access to a car.

While the federal gas tax is the most efficient way to raise the funds for road and transit funding, we also support other user fees and are open to other financing options. With the rise of electronic vehicles and greater fuel efficiency standards, the gas tax offers diminishing revenues, so we have supported the idea of a vehicle miles travelled fee. Additionally, LIUNA supports innovative financing options such as an infrastructure bank, Public Private Partnerships (if structured correctly), and bonding mechanisms to increase private investments into publicly accessible infrastructure.

If elected, what immediate steps would you take to address our Nation's crumbling infrastructure?

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* 7. What steps would you take to ensure sufficient and consistent funding to finance investing in our country's infrastructure?

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* 8. The second largest source of work for LIUNA members is the energy sector. Our members go to work every day developing our Nation's abundant energy resources and keeping the lights on for millions of Americans across the country. Our work reflects our position when it comes to energy; an all-of-the-above approach to energy policy. Our members build windfarms, solar fields, hydro power plants, nuclear facilities and pipelines. In fact, the natural gas pipeline industry has provided millions of work hours and helped tens of thousands of members start careers, while helping to decrease our Nation's net greenhouse gas emissions. LIUNA is supportive of efforts to streamline the permitting process to avoid unnecessary delays on energy projects and lost job opportunities for our members.

As Congress looks to enact legislation to address climate change, it is imperative that we come up with reasonable and rational solutions that maintain reliability and affordability, particularly for power generation and home heating. The Green New Deal Resolution fails this test by imposing unrealistic targets and timelines loaded down with illusory principles unrelated to climate change. By truly working together, we can move toward decreasing greenhouse gas emissions without displacing workers and increasing the cost of energy for our consumers.

Where do you stand on responsible natural gas extraction and energy development? Do you oppose political efforts to stop the development of domestic energy?

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* 9. Do you support efforts to streamline permitting and environmental review for pipeline projects?

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* 10. Do you support the Green New Deal? Why or why not?

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* 11. Collective bargaining should be the cornerstone of an empolyee's wages, benefits and working conditions. It provides workers the opportunity to have a say on decisions affecting their pay, working conditions and benefits. Posing under the intentionally misleading terms "Right to Work", collective bargaining is under attack by right wing extremists who are pushing for legislation at the state and federal level to deny workers the right to join unions.

Do you support the right of all workers to organize and collectively bargain? If so, what specific steps would you take to protect this right for private sector workers, public sector workers, and federal employees?

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* 12. Where do you stand on so-called "Right to Work" laws, and why?

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* 13. Davis Bacon Prevailing Wage laws prevent cheap, low-road contractors from undermining the wages and benefits of workers on federally assisted construction projects. Prevailing wage laws ensure that labor costs are uniform, allowing contractors to compete for public projects based on skill, productivity, and management abilities, not on who can scrape together the cheapest workforce. Davis Bacon not only provides needed stability in the construction industry, it also preserves the living standards of all construction workers and their families throughout the country. LIUNA opposes any effort to weaken or repeal the Davis Bacon Act. The Service Contract Act similarly requires prevailing wages on contracts entered into by Federal agencies through the use of service employees.

Do you support Davis Bacon prevailing wage requirements? If so, what steps would you take to protect these requirements?

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* 14. How will you support the Service Contract Act to ensure fair wages for workers?

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* 15. LIUNA's apprenticeship programs train U.S. workers to become highly skilled, well-paid construction workers through a debt-free, technologically advanced education. These earn as you learn programs pay family sustaining wages and provide health care and retirement benefits. A new proposal by the U.S. Department of Labor to allow so called "Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs" (IRAPs) would drive down labor standards and wages.

What steps would you take to support expanding access to Registered Apprenticeship programs? Do you support the proposed Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP) model? Why or why not?

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* 16. LIUNA is strongly committed to retirement income security for our members and their families. Through our network of multiemployer labor-management pension trust funds, hundreds of thousands of retirees and surviving spouses have received, or are receiving, a monthly pension benefit for the remainder of their lives. Billions in retirement benefits have been paid over the past fifty years by these pension funds. 

We are mindful that some large multiemployer pension funds sponsored by other unions are headed toward insolvency and that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is essentially bankrupt. However, it would be disastrous for LIUNA members and their pensions if Congress tried to save those troubled pension funds and the PBGC at the expense of laborers through increases in PBGC premium rates. Laborers give up wages in exchange for collectively bargained employer contributions to their pension funds. Those contributions need to stay in Laborers' pension funds to pay for Laborers' pensions, and not be diverted to PBGC premiums. Laborers would rather that their pension funds not be covered by the PBGC "guarantee" program rather than pay increased PBGC premium rates.

To enable pension fund trustees to better protect workers' pensions into the future, Congress needs to authorize new types of plan designs and ease the transition of traditional defined benefit plans into the new designs where appropriate. The composite plan design, proposed in the GROW Act of 2018 (H.R. 4997), is an example of such a flexible design.

How will you ensure that LIUNA's pension funds are protected during consideration of multi-employer pension fund reform?

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* 17. A national, single payer safety net Medicare for All/Universal Healthcare program is an admirable goal, and worthy of debate. However, LIUNA calls on candidates to proceed with caution in light of our union's strong multiemployer health and welfare plans that our members and their families benefit from. Employer and union provided health insurance should be encouraged, and employers who do not provide insurance for their workers, should "pay for" the safety net insurance programs. LIUNA supports lowering the age of Medicare participation as one way to provide more coverage to un-insured or under-insured Americans.

Do you support a plan for universal health care that includes current employer and union-provided health coverage? Why or why not?

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* 18. LIUNA was founded more than a century ago by proud immigrants, and we continue to work for fair treatment of immigrant workers in this nation. LIUNA will continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform and will not stop until it gets done. While we work toward this goal, LIUNA also supports immediate, concrete immigration policies.

LIUNA strongly supports the American Dream and Promise Act, which would allow immigrants who have lived in the United States since childhood, known as Dreamers, as well as individuals covered by the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) programs, to remain here. Ending TPS and DED would have a significant negative effect on the construction industry since over twenty percent (20%) of recipients work in our industry. The construction industry needs to retain workers covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), TPS and DED programs to continue to build America. These workers build America every day, and, at the same time, build the U.S. economy.

Do you support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants?

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* 19. Do you support H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, to protect Dreamers, TPS and DED holders?

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* 20. Guest worker visa programs allow employers to hire guest workers to fill temporary "seasonal" jobs. Construction and landscaping work, often performed by LIUNA members, are two of the top industries for H-2B visas. Many contractors that use H-2B visas falsely contend that they are unable to fill vacancies because workers already in the U.S. are unwilling to do those jobs. This is simply not true. Employers often turn to the program to exploit a captive workforce and avoid paying U.S. workers fair wages. Many employers using H-2B visas have repeatedly violated program rules and yet continue to get these visas. Additionally, the H-2A agricultural visa program is being misused to hire construction and landscape workers from other nations to come to the U.S. even though that program is not supposed to be used for construction workers.

Do you support expanding or restricting the H-2B and H-2A guest worker visa programs? Would you take steps to crack down on fraud and abuse of this program, especially in the construction and landscape industries?

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* 21. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public employee unions must in some cases represent free riders who refuse to pay fair share fees for the benefits of their union contract. In response to this decision, the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act will allow every public sector employee to join a union and bargain collectively.

Do you support or oppose the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act? Why or why not?

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* 22. Over the past decade, federal employees have contributed over $180 billion to deficit reduction in the form of pay freezes, retirement security cuts, and sequestration and government shutdowns. Hiring freezes have harmed morale and stretched federal workers in the past several years. Executive orders redistricting federal workers' ability to collectively bargain, use official time to perform needed representational activities, and ensure due process for workers will soon go into effect. All of these attacks on federal employees harm morale, hurt recruitment and retention of qualified, expert workers serving our nation, and devastate families who are denied pay through no fault of their own.

How will you protect federal employees and prevent further attacks on these workers and their union rights?

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* 23. As the economy recovers from the worst recession in eighty years, the Postal Service continues to face a financial crisis. The loss of revenue resulting from declining mail volume has been compounded by a provision in the 2006 postal reform legislation which requires the Postal Service to prefund its future retiree health benefits at a cost of $5.6 billion annually. This pre-funding requirement has resulted in mounting losses, rising debt and destructive job and service cuts, even though the Postal Service has had an operating surplus in recent years. The pre-funding provision is unprecedented. No other agency or private enterprise is required to pre-fund its retiree health benefits.

In order to rectify the unfair, inequitable and financially destructive impact of the prefunding policies, as president, would you support legislation to amend the pre-funding requirement and to protect the mail processing and delivery standards governing the Postal Service prior to 2015?

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* 24. Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), which have been used for generations, are collective bargaining agreements between building trade unions and contractors. They govern terms and conditions of employment for all craft workers—union and nonunion—on a construction project. A typical PLA will establish uniform standards for working hours, overtime, holidays, grievance procedures, drug testing, jurisdictional dispute resolution, etc. PLAs are particularly useful on large, complex construction projects that require many skilled craft workers, and that are expected to last a long period of time, and on projects that are particularly time-sensitive. They protect taxpayers by eliminating costly delays due to labor conflicts or shortages of skilled workers.

Can we count on you to support the use of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on publicly-funded projects and promote their effectiveness as a project-delivery tool at all levels of government and in the private sector?

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* 25. Wage theft is a rampant problem in the non-union construction industry where immigrant workers are often exploited, and it drives down standards for all workers. Wage theft is the unlawful withholding of wages or benefits due to an employee. It can take many different forms – from illegal “deductions” from an employee’s pay to outright not paying an employee at all. Incorrectly classifying an employee as an independent contractor is also a pervasive problem in Minnesota. LIUNA has worked to expose unscrupulous employers and has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in back-wages owed to dozens of immigrant construction workers.

Can we count on you to work with us to end wage theft, protect the rights of immigrant workers and hold employers accountable?

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* 26. Americans want a good life and a better future for our families and for our neighbors. For too long, big corporations and the richest 1% failed to pay their fair share while too many Americans have struggled to get ahead and stay ahead. The greedy few rig the rules against working people, then try to distract us from their actions by using fear to divide people of different races and different places. The COVID-19 and economic crises and the murder of George Floyd have laid bare the deeply rooted inequalities between our communities and neighbors, and the need to reform our revenue sources. LIUNA believes it's time to come together to demand the richest Americans and the largest corporations pay their fair share, so that every Minnesotan and North Dakotan - across race and region - has the opportunity to build a better future.

Can we count on you to support raising new, progressive revenue to fund the things that we know ensure the well-being of our communities: affordable healthcare, education, infrastructure, good jobs, clean air and water and public safety?

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* 27. Skilled local workers have lost hundreds of job opportunities on wind and solar projects, costing local communities tens of millions of dollars in economic development because Minnesota and North Dakota lacked a plan to put local people first in the clean energy transition. Conventional plant host communities and workforce, including LIUNA members, need support as we face the challenge of developing new employment and economic opportunities to replace losses from plant retirements.

Can we count on you to protect local workers and support local communities in the transition from conventional to low-carbon energy by working to ensure that clean energy projects create high-quality local jobs, encouraging industry to work closely with Labor to facilitate a successful clean energy transition, and opposing "low road" developers that take advantage of public subsidies while sidelining local workers?

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* 28. Minnesota’s investor-owned, cooperative, and municipal utilities and our state’s approach to utility regulation have delivered affordable and reliable electric and natural gas service, and provided high-quality union jobs for generations of Minnesotans including thousands of LIUNA members. Unfortunately, Minnesota’s highly-successful regulated utility model is under attack by interest groups that seek to weaken the role of regulated utilities in our electric markets to create unregulated profit-making opportunities at public expense in much the same way that advocates of school vouchers seek to undermine our system of public education. The Minnesota AFL-CIO has called on policymakers to oppose all forms of utility deregulation and to recognize the support the central role regulated utilities in providing reliable, affordable, and fair electric and gas service, including supporting utility ownership of energy assets and resources.

Can we count on you to support Minnesota’s successful system of utility regulation and oppose efforts to deregulate utility services and to shrink the role of regulated utilities in the delivery of electric and gas service?

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* 29. Energy, mining, industrial, civil, and commercial projects have created tens of thousands of jobs for working people and have been the lifeblood of communities across the state. The Minnesota Legislature establishes the procedures by which beneficial projects are considered and approved by agencies like the Pollution Control Agency, Department of Natural Resources, and Public Utilities Commission. LIUNA supports the timely approval of job-creating projects using a thorough, predictable and fair process that ensures compliance with the state's rigorous environmental requirements and public interest standards.

Can we count on you to support common sense procedures that will ensure thorough, predictable, timely and fair review of energy, mining, industrial, civil and commercial construction projects?

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* 30. LIUNA is proud to be leading the way on Minnesota's transition to a clean energy economy. One of the most important contributions Minnesota can make to the fight against climate change is leading the world in the responsible production of copper, nickel and other precious metals. Renewable and electric vehicle technologies consume these precious metals at roughly five-times the rate of conventional technologies. Yet, today, most of these precious metals are mined in countries without strong labor or environmental protections. The Duluth Complex is one of the largest undeveloped mineral deposits in the world, containing more than 4 billion tons of copper, nickel and precious metals. The complex holds the world's 2nd largest copper deposit (34 percent of U.S. resource) and the world's 3rd largest nickel deposit (95 percent of U.S. resource). LIUNA believes that if mining companies can prove to state and federal agencies that we can mine copper and nickel safely and responsibly by meeting rigorous environmental review and permitting processes, protecting workers and providing financial assurances, the agency decisions of those processes should be respected by lawmakers.

Can we count on you to support a timely and predictable process through which mining companies are given a chance to prove to state agencies, including the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, that we can mine copper and nickel safely and responsibly by meeting rigorous environmental review and permitting processes, protecting workers and providing financial assurances?

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* 31. Enbridge Line 3 is a more than 50-year-old pipeline that transports crude oil from the North Dakota border to terminals in Clearbrook, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin along a route that currently crosses the Leech Lake and Fond du Lac Reservations. The deteriorated state of the existing Line 3 pipeline has resulted in the pipeline operating at half of its capacity, forcing oil shipments onto spill-prone rail lines. Enbridge has proposed investing $2.1 billion to replace Line 3 with a new and safer pipeline along a route that will avoid the Leech Lake Reservation. The project will reduce the risk of spills, including spills within environmentally sensitive areas and sovereign tribal land, by replacing a deteriorating pipeline and reducing reliance on rail transport - which is associated with higher incidence and volume of spills on a per-barrel basis - with no meaningful impact on greenhouse gas emissions. The Line 3 replacement project will be the largest construction project in Minnesota history and the entire project will be built with union labor under a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). The Line 3 replacement project has been the subject of vigorous public debate and a multi-year permitting process that has included dozens of public and fact-finding hearings in which thousands of Minnesotans participated. The legal authority to approve or deny the project rests with Minnesota’s independent Public Utilities Commission and courts.

Now that the Public Utilities Commission has approved the replacement of Enbridge's outdated Line 3 with a safer and more reliable pipeline, can we count on you to support its safe and timely replacement?

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* 32. When construction begins on the Line 3 replacement pipeline, opponents may choose to exercise their constitutionally-protected free speech rights to protest the project. LIUNA believes the protection of free speech is essential to freedom and democracy, and specifically to the right of workers to exercise power in the workplace and to collectively bargain for fair wages and working conditions. We also believe that thousands of union construction workers for whom the project will provide family-supporting employment, most of which are expected to be local residents, have a right to dignity and a safe workplace free from violence, harassment and intimidation. Union workers who hope to build the pipeline have already been targeted by offensive and unsupported allegations that their mere presence poses a threat to the safety of area residents. Stress resulting from threats, harassment, intimidation, and frequent work stoppages could make it more difficult for workers to build the pipeline safely and well.

In recognition of these potential threats, the Minnesota AFL-CIO has called on all parties to "refrain from tactics that could prevent Line 3 protestors from lawfully and safely exercising their free speech rights, prevent union workers from lawfully and safely performing their assigned tasks, or otherwise jeopardize the safety of workers or members of the public" and to "promote respectful dialogue, and to both refrain from and speak out against attempts to demonize protestors, pipeline workers or law enforcement, including rhetoric suggesting that the mere presence of protestors or pipeline workers poses a threat to the safety and well-being of area residents."

Can we count on you to promote respectful dialogue and oppose attempts to demonize pipeline workers, protestors or law enforcement, as well as tactics that jeopardize the exercise of free speech rights or the ability of union workers to lawfully and safely perform their assigned tasks?

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* 33. LIUNA supports measures that protect every American's right to vote and ensure the government's responsibility to protect this right. Voting is the very cornerstone of our democracy and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has played a tremendous role in giving disenfranchised communities – and especially communities of color - a voice at the ballot box. The voter suppression efforts we saw in the 2018 elections such as stricter voter registration laws, registered voter purges, expanded voter ID laws, and poll closures in predominantly poor and minority communities all underscore the need to protect and expand voting rights.

Can we count on you to support protecting and expanding voting rights and to oppose the aforementioned voter suppression efforts?

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* 34. LIUNA's strength comes from our diverse and multiracial membership. For over 100 years, our brothers and sisters have fought for systemic transformation and racial equality. We continue to stand in solidarity with the movement to advance workers’ rights and civil rights, as they are one in the same. LIUNA believes the Legislature must build on its work to address the crucial need for equity and criminal justice reform. In the Twin Cities metropolitan area alone, LIUNA membership includes more than 1,000 people of color and 600 women who are skilled and trained journey and apprentice laborers. Every Legislative Session is an opportunity for legislators to lead and make progress on stamping out institutional racism.

Can we count on you to take action to build on the progress on equity and criminal justice reform?

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