Laborers District Council President Jim Brady Retires

After 41 years of distinguished union service, Jim Brady is retiring as president of the Laborers District Council at the end of this month. Todd Pufahl, the LDC’s current Legislative Director, will step into the job, leading the District’s 12,000 members.
Brady, 59, started as a rank and file union member. He got a construction job out of high school, joining the Laborers International Union of North America, Saint Paul Local 132, in 1973. After two decades in the field he was elected to union leadership in 1992, and reached the presidency of the LDC in 1999.
Brady practiced a quiet leadership, never taking credit for himself, but inspiring respect in everyone he worked with. “I surround myself with good people and let them do what they're good at. It's always worked,” Brady said of his accomplishments. He leaves behind a legacy of improved health care, pensions, and training.
“Jim set a new standard of doing business with union groups. We will miss him.” said Harry Melander, President of the Saint Paul Building & Construction Trades Council.
“Mostly, he is a gentleman and a leader we have come to trust and rely on for his leadership. We will miss him and we wish him a long, healthy and happy retirement,” said Dave Semerad, CEO of Associated General Contractors of Minnesota.
Pufahl, who will follow Brady as president, comes from a family of Laborers, and has been a member himself for 34 years. Pufahl started working as a Laborer in 1979 becoming part of union leadership in 1992 when he was elected business manager of Local 363. “Not a day goes by that I do not think about my responsibility in safeguarding the livelihoods of our members and their families that depend on them. It is personal to me,” Pufahl said. “I have two brothers who are Laborers, a son and the father of my three precious grandchildren, provides for them working at the calling. You will never find me neglecting the responsibilities of this office.”
In 2005, Brady picked Pufahl as the LDC's new Legislative Director, where he has worked to represent the LDC's members to their elected representatives. As the transition approaches, Pufahl looked to continue Brady’s legacy. “Jim Brady’s leadership blazed an amazing trail – but Todd will seamlessly continue down that path advocating for its members. The Laborers are in good hands. Todd’s political background and experience will represent his constituents well at any negotiating table,” Melander said.
“Under Jim’s leadership the Laborers have risen to be held in high regard amongst our peers, our partner signatory contractors, political leaders and most importantly our rank and file members,” said Pufahl. “I hope to emulate Jim’s example and hope the same can be said of my stewardship over this organization when I retire.”

Minnesota Laborers Set 2013 Legislative Priorities

With the new Laborer friendly majorities in the Minnesota House & Senate we start the 2013 session with a lot less anxiety and a lot more optimism. We are four weeks into session and not a word about striping bargaining rights or eliminating the eight hour work day. Rather we have bills seeking to give more workers the right to organize, raise the minimum wage, provide property tax relief, pay back our schools and fully fund the build out and operations of light rail in the metro area.

We are actively working to promote job creation bills that enable expansion and growth for the Mall of America, Rochester Mayo Clinic and improve Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure needs for the future.

We have a Governor who is not afraid to lead and propose a structurally sound, balanced and honest budget rather than playing it politically safe and kicking the states problems down the road.

The opportunity is there to make sure these sound proposals become law. Elected officials need to hear from their constituents; Laborers and Union contractors who support these and other job and project creation measures. We have a great opportunity to meet legislators once again at our Annual Laborers Day on the Hill set for Thursday, March 14th. We encourage all members current and retirees to come and join us at this important outreach event. Come join your brother and sisters to talk to your legislators about our 2013 legislative priorities.

  1. Support for a transportation funding bill which would provide much needed additional constitutionally dedicated transportation funding and fund thousands of construction related jobs over the next twenty years.

  2. Support for Tax bill which will leverage up to $2B in private economic development and million of work hours for our members revitalizing the MOA and building out the Bloomington Central Station development.

  3. Support for our responsible contractor proposal which will provide public entities a new tool to disqualify non responsible low bid contractors who do not met the definition of a responsible contractor due to their past conduct.

  4. Support for the DOLI proposals which aim to provide resources and additional authority for the DOLI to better enforce labor laws, apprenticeship programs and wage standards in Minnesota.

  5. Support HF748 SF608 which fixes a loophole in current law which prohibits workers from having standing or being made whole when a contractor has been found in violation of local prevailing wage ordinances or other contract requirements.

  6. Support Governor Dayton’s proposal to restore $220M a year in aid to Counties and Local Governments.

Please register for your 2nd annual Laborers Day on the Hill by calling the District Council @ 651-653-9776 or by registering online here. 

Todd T. Pufahl, Legislative Director


2012 Laborers Election Summary

It has been a long haul from the end of the last legislative session to the end of this historic election. However, Laborers have a lot to be proud of.  For example, since the end of the last session, we have worked together motivate our members to get active and attend their precinct caucuses and move through the process to become a delegate to the State and National Conventions.  We were successful in accomplishing both. We had a strong and organized contingency of Laborers at the State DFL Convention and we elected one of our own (Pat Jansen), as well as three others to the Democratic National Convention.

We then turned our focus on registering more of our members to vote.  We were again successful in motivating more than four hundred members to pre-register and hundreds more to register and VOTE on Election Day.

After which, thanks to the Laborers leadership, every Laborer in MN, ND & WI received six issue mailings, at least two Leader letters, Primary and General Election Sample Ballots and numerous phone calls, door knocks and robo-calls educating and motivating them to vote, and vote right in November.  

Laborers can also take pride in knowing the Laborers were once again leaders in providing assistance to Laborer Endorsed Candidates and ballot measure efforts. With so much at stake this election cycle, we PAC’d out with every one of our Laborer Endorsed Candidates Campaigns and we were top tier investors in all of the Independent Coordinated Efforts on behalf of our Laborer Endorsed Candidates.  We partnered with the Fund for the Majority; 8th CD add on Fund; GOTV add on Fund; Our Vote Our Future Fund; the 2012 Fund, and a vital (Laborers only) Tom Saxhaug IE effort widely credited as making a big difference in holding this seat.

We also stepped up BIG TIME for Rick Nolan and totally funded the AFL-CIO’s only 8th CD Nolan program. Without our funding, fewer AFL-CIO members would have had any direction or communication from LABOR indicating that Rick Nolan was the ONLY AFL-CIO & MN State Building Trades Endorsed Candidate!  We also fully funded the AFL-CIO’s effort to bring predictive dialers to Greater Minnesota by purchasing 22 laptops for the AFL-CIO’s RLF’s & ALC’s to utilize.

Through all of this we also accomplished our goal of making sure we are NOTICED for the electoral work we were doing. Our Orange Crush Army of Activists were everywhere our “friends” were and we made good use of Local 563’s BIG ORANGE Truck at rallies, marches & debates. 

Laborer activists and members have a lot to be proud of in the outcome of this election cycle and we can all breath a lot easier as a result of our investments and our collective efforts.


Legislative Director Thanks Members For 2012 Election Work

Our Laborer to Laborer voter registration efforts resulted in hundreds of Laborers registering to vote for their very first time!  As we all witnessed a number of these contests were so close they required recounts, clearly these efforts made a difference.

Our membership mailings educated and motivated our members to get out and vote for the Laborer endorsed candidates and as a result we re-elected Barack Obama, took back the Eighth Congressional District by electing Rick Nolan, held ND Senator, Keith Conrad’s seat by electing Heidi Heitkamp, maintained our Laborer friendly Minnesota US Senate by re-electing Amy Klobuchar, just said NO to Voter Suppression and installed Laborer friendly majorities in both the Minnesota Senate and House.    

As a result of our working together, we now have for the first time in over 22 years a Laborer friendly MN House, Senate and Governor, and for at least these next two years we will no longer have to expend our time and energy fighting off attacks on our wages, benefits, pensions and work hours.  Rather, we will once again have an opportunity to move legislation to advance our industry, our signatory contractor’s market share and our members livelihoods.  Thank you, stay engaged, activism works! 

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Fight Back Against RomneyStein! New video from LiUNA!

A new monster is threatening Minnesota and North Dakota Laborers. Check out the video and then come back to this website to sign up to get involved in fighting back.


Photo ID Amendment Would Restrict Voting Rights


It may seem like a simple thing, requiring Minnesotans to show their photo ID before they vote. As a matter of fact, some of your friends, neighbors and some of your fellow union members still think it is. You might even think it makes sense.

But the Laborers District Council of MN & ND officially opposes the so-called Photo ID Constitutional Amendment. We are asking our members to watch this new video . The voter restriction amendment is far from simple and that is why we oppose it. As a matter of fact, the legislature made it very complicated. It will cost millions to implement; millions better spent on creating jobs for hardworking Laborers. It also ends Minnesota’s 40-year tradition of Election Day registration.

The voter restriction amendment being considered here is the most restrictive in the country, placing hurdles between the ballot box and Minnesotans serving in the military, seniors and young voters, including some of our union retirees.

It’s far from simple, and it’s wrong for Minnesota. Watch this powerful video, “A Simple Thing,” right now. 

After you take a few short minutes to watch, please pledge to vote NO, and share the with your friends and family. And, please continue to have conversations about why the voter restriction amendment is far from simple.

With your help, we can defeat this harmful amendment. Connect with Our Vote Our Future, the official campaign to defeat voter restriction in Minnesota on Facebook and Twitter.


9th Annual Laborers' Ride for Charity

For the ninth year, the Laborers District Council of MN & ND, Laborers Local #563, Laborers Local #132, the Laborers Training Center and LECET-Minnesota are sposoring the Minnesota Laborers Ride for Charity to benefit and Ronald McDonald House. The ride will take place on Saturday, August 18, 2012 with registration taking place from 8:00-9:30 am at the Laborers Training Center in Lino Lakes, MN. There will be a barbecue and raffle for participants following the ride. 

Click to read more ...


Laborers Local #563 Members Lend a Hand on Playground Project

UPDATE! Check out this cool video of the project.


After a victorious stadium battle, members of three union organizations combine efforts with the Minnesota Vikings to assist a school with needs.

push a 
goal line, 

Click to read more ...


Laborers Mobilize to Fight so called "Right to Work" Amendment

Over the past weeks, Laborers in Minnesota have been mobilizing in recod numbers to fight back against the unfair, unsafe and unnecessary "right to work" amendment being proposed at the Legislature in Saint Paul. For now, check out this video we produced showing our members at the Capitol, talking to their legislators but how "right to work" would devastate our unions and our communities.

After watching the video, click here to send your legislator a letter asking them to vote "NO" on a "right to work" constitutional amendment.

Then return to this website for more information and ways you can get involved.



So called "Right-to-Work" Amendment is Unfair, Unsafe & Unnecessary

The same corporate CEOs who have taken away collective bargaining rights in other states are pushing a constitutional amendment here in Minnesota that if passed would weaken our rights and lower our wages and benefits and threaten our pensions.

We have negotiated in good faith with our signatory contractors and made sacrifices to help us all weather these tough economic times.  Despite our sacrifice, corporate CEOs and the politicians they helped elect are pushing a so-called “right to work” law in Minnesota that would result in even more concessions from struggling working families in our state. That’s wrong.

Plain and simple, right to work is unfair, unsafe and unnecessary.

  • UNFAIR: Right to work is UNFAIR because it not only allows those who don’t pay their fair share to benefit at their co-worker’s expense, but it also further tilts the balance in favor of corporate CEOs and the 1%. 
  • UNSAFE: Right to work is UNSAFE because it weakens workers’ voice on the jobsite meaning more workplace deaths. And it means that nurses, firefighters, police officers and construction workers can’t negotiate for things that keep us all safe like life-saving emergency equipment, quick emergency response times, adequate safety training and good materials.
  • UNNECESSARY: Right to work in UNNECESSARY because Minnesota already has a great quality of life – not only does RTW not improve it, it actually puts it at risk.“

Minnesota Laborers are leading the fight against the "Right to Work" amendment. To get involved, click here and sign up to fight back, and watch this website for continued updates on this fight.