On Wednesday, an article from the Minnesota Reformer revealed workers had been denied the wages they earned while working on the site of the Viking Lakes project owned by the Wilf family development company MV Ventures. In total, 40 workers have come forward with over $100,000 in wage theft claims.
“It appears that worker abuse has occurred right in our backyard, in Eagan, on a luxurious athletic facility that has been subsidized by the taxpayers. These workers need to be supported, they need to be believed, and the Wilf family needs to correct the wrongs they have suffered,” said Senator Matt Klein (DFL-Mendota Heights), who represents the area of this project. “There is no excuse for treating working people like this in our state. Despite our work to address wage theft, it’s clear that it remains a serious issue for workers who are mistreated and exploited. We are much better than that, and we must do more to support our workers.”
DFLers Press to Block Republican Attempts to Weaken Wage Theft Laws
“The treatment of workers involved in the Viking Lakes project is stunning and unacceptable,” said Senator Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-Minneapolis). “I commend the bravery of the dozens of workers who have stepped forward to report over $100,000 in wage theft. The scope of their allegations indicates that wage theft is not only a regular occurrence on these projects but a part of the subcontractors’ business models. While I offered an amendment this session to prevent Senate Republicans from weakening wage theft laws, they blocked it. This story makes clear that instead of weakening wage theft laws, we need to strengthen them. I will continue to press for stricter enforcement of Minnesota’s strong wage theft laws.”
Despite passing legislation on wage theft in 2019 that strengthened penalties for businesses that engaged in it, enforcement has been difficult due to a lack of resources. Additionally, in the debate on the Senate Jobs and Energy Omnibus Bill on April 26, Senate DFLers offered an amendment to block Senate Republican efforts which loosens requirements and reduce penalties for employers that commit wage theft. Senate Republicans blocked this amendment.