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Random alley news April ’22

By LINDSEY FENNER

Allina Proposing a New 10-Story Surgical Care Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital

All Youth Programs and Sports Are Free This Summer at Phillips Parks: The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) has made activities free for ages 17 and under in Minneapolis neighborhoods within “census-designated Areas of Concentrated Poverty (ACP).” This includes activities in East Phillips Park, Phillips Park, Peavey Park, and Stewart Park in the Phillips neighborhoods. Other area parks with waived fees for youth include: Central Gym, Elliot Park, Painter Park, Powderhorn Park, Whittier Park. The program applies to 17 parks throughout Minneapolis through at least the end of 2022. The funding for this project comes from a gradual increase in the Park Board property tax levy and City of Minneapolis allocations from the American Rescue Plan Act, the COVID-19 Stimulus funding passed by the Biden administration in 2021. 

How it Works:

Visit minneapolisparks.org/register to browse all MPRB programs online via the ActiveNet platform. People can also drop by or call their local recreation center to ask about upcoming programs and sign up.

Youth program registration will be free for anyone with a Minneapolis address on their ActiveNet account at one of the 17 sites.

Allina Proposing a New 10-Story Surgical Care Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital: At the February 24 City of Minneapolis Planning Commission Committee of the Whole meeting, Allina presented a proposal for a new 10-story “surgical and critical care pavilion” along with changes to traffic access to the hospital campus. The new building, located in the middle of the two-block hospital campus between approximately Chicago and 10th Avenues, and 26th and 28th Streets, adds approximately 500,000 sq ft of space. This building project is in the preliminary stages of City approval. Allina will need to complete an environmental worksheet and traffic study and go through a city approval process before construction on the Care Center could begin. The proposed building is part of an ongoing larger campus renovation at ANW, where a new transportation hub/parking ramp on the south side of the campus, and a new utility plant on the north side of the campus are currently under construction. 

Unionized Cub Foods/UNFI Bakery Workers Fighting Against Cuts to Pension/Healthcare Plans: In March, Cub bakery workers represented by BCTGM Local 22 started a campaign leafleting against corporately owned Cub Foods stores across the metro. According to the union, which is in contract negotiations with Cub, Cub/UNFI has proposed pulling out of the workers’ pension fund and significantly increasing worker healthcare costs. After suffering some losses during the pandemic, the pension fund is financially healthy, according to Local 22 President Wally Borgen. Cub Foods’ parent company, Eden-Prairie-based SuperValu, was acquired by UNFI in 2018. UNFI, one of the largest natural and organic food distributors in the United States, had initially planned on selling off SuperValu’s retail groceries, but changed their mind after seeing record retail profits during the pandemic. The Cub Foods at Lake and Hiawatha in the Longfellow neighborhood is a franchise location owned by Jerry’s Foods, and is not a part of these contract negotiations.

MIGIZI Receives Grant from Amanda Gorman’s “Writing for Change” Initiative: The goal of the $5 million collaboration between Estee Lauder and poet Amanda Gorman is to “support grassroots organizations dedicated to advancing literacy as a pathway to equality, access, and social change, through the power of young voices.” Other 2022 Grantees are the American Library Association, We Need Diverse Books, Girls Write Now, and Write Girl.

Unfair Labor Practices Strike against Minnesota Epilepsy Group: Picket lines went up at Abbott Northwestern Hospital as healthcare technicians who work for the Minnesota Epilepsy Group (MEG) went out on a 5-day unfair labor practices strike beginning on March 14. MEG provides EEG and other neurological services at Abbott Northwestern, Childrens’ and United Hospitals. EEG technicians represented by SEIU Healthcare MN have been calling for more staffing and wage increases for frontline healthcare workers during contract negotiations. Workers were offered raises of less than 1%. According to the union, MEG also engaged in unfair labor practices by using regressive negotiation tactics and requiring union members to vote within three hours as part of a  “last, best, final offer” package.

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