The Free Press, Mankato, MN


May 10, 2014

Our View: DFL bows shamefully to union

Thumbs down to Minnesota Senate Democrats caving in to a specious lobbying effort by state union leaders.

A bill to allow small craft breweries to sell growlers on Sunday had widespread support this session. But suddenly the Teamsters union began leaning on DFL leaders to oppose the legislation.

The fuzzy reason given was that an unnamed liquor distribution company, which employs some union members, claimed a change in state law would allow it to reopen contract negotiations with its workers.

So the minor change in Sunday liquor sales that would have helped the entrepreneurs who operate small breweries was this week quietly killed on a voice vote, allowing senators to not go on record with their votes.

It was a shameful move that only reinforces perceptions that the DFL takes its orders not from constituents but from unions.

Chairman goes stealth on fees

Thumbs down to the airlines and congressional allies for their stealthy, rapid attempt to overturn federal regulations requiring that the full price of airline tickets be prominent in ads and promotions.

The airlines want to revert to pre-2012 rules, which allowed them to emphasize the “base fare” and hide the extra fees and taxes in the fine print or on a second webpage.

It is probably no coincidence that Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., who chairs the House transportation committee (which passed the repeal measure this month with no recorded vote), has pulled in $64,900 in airline contributions this election season, making him the top congressional recipient of airline contributions. He’s also received $22,500 from air transport unions.

Almost as contemptible is the titling of the bill “The Transparent Airfares Act.” This is the opposite of transparency.

Book bus encourages reading

Thumbs up to the organizers and donors to Bess the Book Bus, a traveling bookmobile of sorts on wheels that delivers books free of charge to children at various stops along its way throughout the United States.

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