Mar 12, 2012 at 12:16 pm
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota Senate committee has passed a bill that let voters statewide decide if Minnesota should be a "right to work" state with voluntary union membership.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Republican-sponsored bill Monday on a vote of 7-6. One Republican joined all five Democrats in opposition.
The bill still must pass multiple committees. Republican legislative leaders say it's not yet certain if it will get the House and Senate floor votes needed to send it to the November ballot.
Union demonstrators surrounded the hearing room and filled overflow sites throughout the Capitol. They loudly chanted while amendment backers testified.
Supporters say it's unfair to force nonunion workers into paying dues anyway. But union backers say those workers still benefit from the wages, benefits and conditions bargained by unions.