Dem. AG in MN blackballs AFSCME, stirs labor abroad

Legal News Line Mar. 10, 2008, 5:30am

Lori Swanson

ST. PAUL -- An international labor advocacy group has accused Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson of illegally preventing lawyers in her office from joining a union. London-based website recently began a campaign urging readers to e-mail Swanson on behalf of assistant attorneys general in her office attempting to join the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Swanson, a member of the Democratic Labor Party, ignited the controversy early last year when several members of her staff departed amid allegations the AG was trying to stop them from joining AFSCME, LNL reported. Swanson's predecessor, Mike Hatch, was one of those who left amid allegations he was behind the AG's anti-union drive. Recent pro-union reports noted that Swanson had been sent almost 600 laborstart e-mails from pro-unionists in several countries. The e-mail urges the AG to uphold "the right of the attorneys in your office to organize and join the union of their choice, free of coercion and intimidation." Laoborstart's campaign also accused Swanson of using "fear and intimidation" by recently asking workers in her office to mark "anti-union ballots" in the presence of "two supervisors and two judges." Swanson has spent the past few months battling the unionizing efforts amongst her legal staff. The Minnesota FL-CIO has also weighed in, the report added, requesting all affiliated unions to halt contributions to Swanson until she recognizes her employees' union of choice.

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