When Indiana passed its right-to-work law to become the 23rd state to adopt that position, Minnesota legislators passed a referendum for a constitutional amendment that would do the same in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Republican-controlled legislators did that to bypass DFL Governor Mark Dayton, as a successful referendum would amend the constitution without his signature. Dayton responded by calling the measure “extreme“:
“Who is extreme? Who’s extreme?” Dayton asked the group. “Right to work, come on folks. We’ve had Republican legislatures and Republican governors and nobody’s every run that one up to try to get a constitutional amendment….
“Employee freedom? Freedom to work for substandard wages? Look at the states that have right to work and compare their salary wage levels with states that don’t. The states that don’t have higher standards of living for their people. Better education systems. Better opportunity for people to at least negotiate for decent wages and retirement benefits and health care and the like.”
Who’s extreme? Survey USA decided to poll on that question this week, after Indiana’s change gave the issue a higher profile — and it became clear who exactly are the extremists in this debate:
An amendment that would designate Minnesota as a “right to work” state is supported 2:1, backed by rich and poor, educated and less-educated.
The survey of 542 registered voters showed a margin of more than 2:1, at 55/24. It wins majorities of both men and women, and wins all age demographics by majorities except seniors, which have a near-majority supporting it at 49/35. Independents support the idea by a wider margin than overall, 57/27, and even a plurality of Democrats support it at 40/32. In fact, even a slight plurality of liberals support the measure, 35/32, with moderates near a 2:1 ratio of support at 53/28. All income levels have wide pluralities or majorities supporting the measure, as do all regions of the state; the only region where it doesn’t get a majority, northeastern Minnesota (where Iron Range mining makes union support stronger) approves of the measure 49/30.
Looks as though Minnesota’s mainstream has tired of closed shops and union bullying. The “extreme” in this state are those who want to protect Big Labor’s turf — and the spigot of political contributions that come from forced dues payments. In other words, if Dayton wants to know “who’s extreme,” he should just look in the mirror.