More than 1,200 members of AFSCME Council 5, the largest union of state employees, participated in the annual Day on the Hill at the Minnesota Legislature Tuesday.
Many members from locals in the Twin Cities participated and buses came from Brainerd, Duluth, St. Peter, Virginia, Willmar and Winona. Members wore their green AFSCME t-shirts as they fanned out throughout the building.
Workers visited their state lawmakers, attending legislative hearings and filled the Capitol rotunda for a rally. There, workers at the state's psychiatric hospitals spoke of the unsafe conditions they face on the job - and urged lawmakers to take action to address them. They said the state needs to invest in mental health facilities for the benefit of patients, workers and the community.
They also called on elected officials to use the state's $1.65 billion surplus to maintain quality public services and not squander it on tax breaks for the wealthy.
Other legislative priorities include:
- Move Minnesota with new revenue for roads, bridges and transit
- Oppose leasing the private prison in Appleton
- Protect retirement security and defined-benefit pensions
- Help counties hire, train and retain child protection workers
- Support local control and oppose corporate interference