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Family farmers call for tougher CAFO regulations in Farm Bill; The Midwest and Northeast brace for record high temperature in heatwave; Financial-justice advocates criticize crypto regulation bill; Ohio advocates: New rules strengthen protections for sexual-assault victims.

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The RNC kicks off its election integrity effort, Democrats sound a warning bell about conservatives' Project 2025, and Republicans suggest funding cuts to jurisdictions with legal cases against Trump.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Legislation aimed at stopping MN employers from misclassifying workers

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Wednesday, April 24, 2024   

Minnesota lawmakers are considering a measure which would force employers to properly classify certain trade union workers and others as employees rather than independent contractors.

The bill aims to ensure worker's rights to overtime, minimum wages, safe workplaces and other benefits are protected.

Richard Kododziejski, director of government affairs for the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, said fraud and wage theft is rampant among certain employers.

"It maximizes the ability to fight employer misclassification fraud in Minnesota," Kododziejski stressed, as he explained the union's support for the measure. "While it was already illegal to misclassify employees, the law was not as strong as this bill will make it."

Versions of the bill have been filed in both the Minnesota House and Senate. Kododziejski noted both measures have cleared relevant committees and he expects them to go to a floor vote next week.

Kododziejski emphasized while misclassifying employees has always been illegal in Minnesota, the new law would give state regulators a stronger hand in dealing with bad actors.

"The Department of Labor and Industry has not had the ability to enforce it to the extent that they would through this piece of legislation," Kododziejski pointed out. "It levels the playing field for honest contractors who are not cheating the system and are properly treating their workers as employees."

Kododziejski observed when workers are improperly misclassified as independent contractors, it deprives them of overtime, minimum wages, safe workplaces and other benefits. He believes the bill will make it too expensive for employers to cut corners on paying their employees.

"Significant elements of this bill provide large fines to employers that definitely is steeper than what we've seen in the past," Kododziejski added. "When you say, well, why can't they make a dent in this? Why can't we stop this once and for all?"

Disclosure: The North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters contributes to our fund for reporting on Livable Wages/Working Families, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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