DFL Staffers Take Advantage of Dislocated Worker Benefits

Republican legislators question campaign staffers use of the Dislocated Worker program's benefits.

St. Paul, Minnesota The 2016 election was good for Minnesota Republicans, but not so much for the DFL.  As a result, 50 to 60 DFL staffers have found themselves unemployed, a possibility anyone working in politics should expect in an election year. The DFL staffers have joined together to take advantage of the Minnesota Dislocated Worker program, receiving benefits that generally are reserved for employees laid-off by private companies.  

Minnesota Jobs Partners defines the Minnesota Dislocated Worker program as a “special grant” set up by The Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED) for workers in a mass layoff situation. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the Minnesota Dislocated Worker program is there to assist employees who have been subject to mass lay-offs, particularly those who may face “difficult barriers to employment.” Those barriers include:

  • Difficulty transferring specialized skills to other occupations or industries.
  • A decline in the market demand for certain skills.
  • Age or length of work experience.
  • Need for formal training or education.
  • Lack of jobs with earnings at a level comparable to their previous positions.

The program also helps with job training, mortgage/rent, car payments and utility bills.

CBS Minnesota reports that Minnesota Republicans are criticizing the DFL staffers’ decision to take advantage of the program.

Representative Kelly Fenton (R-53B) told CBS Minnesota that campaign and political staffers know there are no guarantees in political work:  “At the end of the campaign, there is a win or a loss,” Fenton said. “But there is no job security whatsoever.”

Fenton went on to say, “There are many men and women out there right now who would love to have the child care, the transportation, help with the resume, help with the job search,” she said. “That’s the men and women this program was meant to help.”

Shane Delany of DEED, responded to the criticism by claiming political campaign workers fit the legal definition of an employee who’s part of a mass layoff and that DEED doesn’t discriminate against employers or employees: if a Minnesotan worker is eligible for the services, DEED will be there to offer the services to them. (CBS Minnesota)

In a statement, DFL Chairman, Ken Martin said the Republican criticism is “dangerously inaccurate, and that the DFL plans to “continue to protect programs that aid all workers, no matter their political party affiliation.”