Proposed bill ensures job security for laid off Minnesota workers
"The bill will help maintain established employer-employee relationships which are critical to the speed of the overall economic recovery."
MINNESOTA (KVRR) – As the pandemic uproots many people out of their jobs, fellow Minnesotans are speaking out for new legislation that will help hospitality and service sector workers impacted after losing their jobs.
As state restrictions ease up and more businesses open, laid off workers are worried they’ll be out of jobs to competing applicants.
Minnesota House Democrats are proposing a pandemic assistance bill to ensure that won’t happen.
“This is a worker protection bill, the bill won’t create any additional financial cost to businesses. It simply requires employers to rehire the workers who they employed prior to COVID-19 as business demand allows for it. The bill will help maintain established employer-employee relationships which are critical to the speed of the overall economic recovery,” DFL State Rep. Andrew Carlson of Bloomington said.
Workers who’ve been loyal to their companies for many years are saying they’re afraid employers may not see them as valuable to the workforce.
“It would be terrible if our employers would use this to get rid of the employees many of my coworkers have worked there for 10 and 15 years I’m worried that they would change the jobs slightly or require new things after we are all back causing many of us to lose jobs, we’ve done so well for all these years,” SEIU Local 26 Member Willie Jones said.
Others say it may be more difficult to find new employment, if this does happen.
“I’m 52 years old, the companies might just see another old man if I try to fill out an application somewhere else. It is no one’s fault that COVID-19 happened, we’re just asking to be sure for politicians to make sure that we can go back to our jobs eventually so we can go back to the way things were or maybe even better than before,” United Local 17 Member Jimell Thomas said.
Those who support the bill say they want to see the same workers who were employed before welcome the community back back as the economy begins to recover.
“When the economy opens back up, when people feel safe and secure going to events again, the workers who’ve been there smiling, taking care of them working for them for years need to be back on the job this bill is designed to make sure that workers come first as this recovery comes around this spring,” Majority Leader State Rep. Ryan Winkler said.
The next step for representative Carlson’s bill is a public hearing in the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law that is scheduled for Tuesday.