What Minnesota's Working Families Should Know About Covid-19

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has been declared a pandemic, and the disease is spreading rapidly across the United States. Minnesota's labor movement is working nonstop to protect the health and safety of all workers.

Stay at Home Executive Order

Governor Walz announced a Stay At Home executive order today directing Minnesotans to limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs from March 27 at 11:59pm to April 10 at 5:00pm. He also announced executive orders extending the closure of bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations until May 1, 2020 at 5:00pm and authorizing the Commissioner of Education to implement a Distance Learning Period for Minnesota’s students beginning on March 30 through May 4, 2020.

The SEMNALC and MN AFL-CIO are working with the governor's office to define essential employees and industries that will continue working while this executive order is in place.

Labor's Policy Prioritie'S

The SEMNALC and Minnesota AFL-CIO are working closely with the Governor, governmental department agencies, and the legislature to ensure working people are protected during this crisis. Minnesota’s unions are advocating for the following emergency policy priorities to protect working people both in the short and long- term.
Protect Frontline Workers’ Health
  • Require hospitals to follow stricter guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE) standards and require, at the least, N-95 respirators for all health care workers.
  • Provide sufficient PPE for firefighters (many do not have enough protective gear to safely first respond to emergencies) and home care workers interacting with COVID-19 positive clients unable to seek outside medical care.
  • Ensure workers most frequently exposed to diseases and who work in close physical proximity to others or in public spaces, including fast food, janitorial, retail, airport, and transportation settings have adequate protections and supplies to do their jobs safely.
Full Wage Support for All Working People
  • Increase Unemployment Insurance (UI) payments to full wage replacement and extend UI benefits for an additional 26 weeks.
  • Provide relief for workers who are misclassified as independent contractors, have no paid sick days, benefits from their employer, or are ineligible for UI.

Maintain Labor Standards through the Crisis

  • Do not rollback any labor rights or protections, including wage theft, child labor, tip penalty, preemption, prevailing wage, occupational licensure.
Emergency Paid Time Off
  • Enact a policy for 15 days (3 weeks) of Emergency Paid Time Off paid for by employers and provided to all workers, no exceptions, who have to miss work due to the coronavirus pandemic for any reason.

Paychecks for Hourly School District Workers

  • Ensure hourly school district workers receive pay while schools remain closed.
  • Invest in MN’s people and projects for an economic stimulus to jumpstart the economy when we are through this crisis.

Government Resources

Unemployment Insurance

If your employment has been affected by COVID-19, you can apply for unemployment benefits.


Governor Walz and MNsure announced a 30-day special enrollment period for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance as a result of the growth of COVID-19 cases. The SEP opened on March 23 and runs through April 21.

Individual Tax Filing Extension

Minnesotans filing their annual Minnesota Individual Income Tax return for tax year 2019 now have until Wednesday, July 15, 2020 to file and make their payments without any penalties or interest.

TAKE ACTION to Help Our Union Brothers & Sisters

Leave No Worker Behind by Minnesota AFL-CIO