MANKATO — The Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council’s annual convention has made an in-person request to guest speaker Governor Tim Walz and legislative leaders: Convene a special session to resume unfinished business from the 2022 legislative session.
In addition to Governor Walz’s remarks, the convention heard from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and other elected officials, either in person or via video.
The convention also passed 14 resolutions, including a call for a special session to pass a $1.4 billion surety bill and to pass matching funds for the Federal Infrastructure and Infrastructure Investment Act. ‘use.
Other resolutions supported including prevailing wage requirements in affordable housing projects, reducing the use of toxic materials in construction, and protecting workers and their unions.
The convention also passed a resolution citing threats posed by climate change, the need for raw materials found in Minnesota for renewable energy technologies, and declared support for “safe and responsible copper mining- nickel in Minnesota”.
Held on July 21 and 22 at the Mankato Civic Center, the State Building Trades convention drew approximately 220 delegates, alternates, and guests. The 15 unions affiliated to the Council represent approximately 70,000 workers.
Joe Fowler, Business Manager of Labor Local 563, is chairman of the board and chaired the convention.
Introducing Governor Walz, who received a standing ovation, Fowler noted that Minnesota’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has become a national model and that “Tim’s decisive action has saved lives.”
“Minnesota was the first state in the nation to designate our building trades workers as essential workers,” Walz reminded delegates.
“I’m a union member myself,” said Walz, who was a high school social studies teacher and soccer coach before entering politics and winning six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. . Walz also served 24 years in the National Guard.
Earlier this year, the State Building Trades Council approved Walz’s re-election.
“As long as I am Governor of Minnesota, we will be a workers state,” Walz said. “I promise to be labor governor, to defend your rights, to advance our state.”
“The question of the day is how do you provide for your families,” Walz said. “We’re doing it right,” he said, citing record unemployment, high budget surpluses and low COVID death tolls.
Delegates also greeted Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison with a standing ovation. Ellison is up for re-election to a second term and has sought — and received — approval of the convention. “I know you will take care of us and take care of our members,” Fowler told Ellison.
As Attorney General, Ellison created a wage theft unit and worked to address the misclassification of workers.
“My office only works well in relation to you,” Ellison said. “I believe organized labor is the best chance workers have,” Ellison said.
“Everything you do in the building trades, our society owes you a debt of gratitude,” Ellison added.
This article first appeared in the August 2022 issue of Minneapolis Labor Review.