GOP rep. wants to lure firms against ‘right to work’

Rep. Pat Garofalo, R- Farmington Photo |Minnesota House

A Republican Minnesota legislator wants Wisconsin business owners who are opposed to the Badger State Legislature's likely passage of what's known as "right-to-work" legislation to move to Minnesota.

Wisconsin Republicans  appear poised to pass the bill to make union dues optional,  which critics say would undermine union power in negotiating higher pay for workers.

In a letter to two Wisconsin construction businesses that hire union members, Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington offered assistance in relocating their businesses to Minnesota.

He said the government shouldn't get involved in how private companies do their work.

"In Wisconsin, you have private sector business owners who are telling the government this is going to hurt their businesses model," Garofalo said. "Those are the businesses we want in Minnesota."

"Many Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature understand that 'Right to Work' significantly interferes with your right to set the terms and conditions of employment in your workplace," Garofalo's letter reads.

It wasn't that long ago that Minnesota's Republican-controlled Legislature was considering its own right-to-work legislation.

But Garofalo said it was never a serious effort, even though he's a vocal opponent of teachers unions.

"The Minnesota history proves it - we didn't do Right-to-Work because there's lots of Republicans in Minnesota against it," he said.

Garofalo said he's spoken with two employers in Wisconsin who told him they are very concerned with where the Wisconsin Legislature is headed on right-to-work and that they want to move their businesses to Minnesota. Garofalo wouldn't say which companies.

Meanwhile, Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who earned kudos and criticism for dismantling public sector unions when he first took office, has signaled support for the right-to-work legislation, despite dodging the topic during the 2014 campaign.

Now, Walker is eyeing a White House bid in 2016.

Here's Garofalo's letter:

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