Lockouts have gained popularity among Minnesota employers looking to flex their muscles in contract negotiations with union workers, but state lawmakers yesterday began examining the impact these prolonged work stoppages have had on families, communities and businesses.

The House Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee’s hearing on lockouts was likely a first step toward legislative action to protect locked-out workers – and make the tactic less appealing to employers.
Heidi Durand, a sociology professor and member of the Moorhead City Council, said her community was not equipped to handle the volume of problems Jacobson and Crystal Sugar’s other locked-out workers are facing, from increased foreclosures and bankruptcies to mental-health issues and substance abuse.

Receipts are down at local businesses, and Moorhead’s homeless shelters have been “beyond capacity” since the fall, Durand said. Longtime friendships have splintered, leaving the community’s “social fabric greatly weakened.”
With lockouts on the rise, state lawmakers weigh social, economic impacts