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Raise Your Voice By Peter Molenaar As it happened, I was assigned to do strike support work for the Anne Sullivan unit of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers strike. ON STRIKE FOR LIVING WAGES, ON STRIKE FOR MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORTS, ON STRIKE FOR SAFE STABLE SCHOOLS… I would hold up these picket signs on behalf of those needing a break. 33rd and Lake Street was the site. The Sonora Grill was our sanctuary. Passing motorists registered their honks in support. From the standpoint of justice, our teachers are defending our schools from the threat of corporatization. Moreover, they demand adequate funding and respectful remuneration for mental health staffers. Why? Hey, our kids have been traumatized by a pandemic in combination with stark images of police brutality. Looking beyond… Harmoniously, it is the unionized sector of the nursing trades which advances MEDICARE FOR ALL. This program would eliminate the labor redundancies inherent in the regime of private insurance. What then? Labor power would be rationally redeployed to the arena of early childhood education. The resulting uplift of historically oppressed peoples would actually uplift the whole of our nation. And deeper… Commendable social democratic activists among us regularly advocate for the cancelation of student debt. Indeed, the burden of student debt is a major source of inequality. However, with reference to higher education, I propose that every student receive free room and board plus a stipend as long as passing grades are maintained, on top of which: there should be vocational training in the summer months to establish a fallback position. University students should be paid to go to school. Such was the program initiated long ago in the Soviet Union. I kid you not. Towards life-long learning… While conversing with our striking educators here, I admitted to having been somewhat “slow” in school, but nonetheless had committed myself to life-long learning. [...]

March Random alley News

By LINDSEY FENNER Bring Her Home, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Documentary Airing on PBS: The documentary, directed by Leya Hale (Dakota/Diné) and produced by Sergio Rapu (Rapanui), follows three indigenous women: artist and All My Relations Gallery Director Angela Two Stars, activist Mysti Babineau, and U.S. Rep. Ruth Buffalo, as they fight to vindicate and honor their missing and murdered relatives who have fallen victims to a growing epidemic across Indian country.  Airing on Twin Cities Public Television Channel TPT 2 Monday, Mar 21 at 8pm or streaming at https://www.tpt.org/bring-her-home/ Pillsbury House Launches Documenters, A New Civic Reporting Project: The Documenters project was first developed in Chicago by City Bureau, a local media non-profit with a goal of making journalism more democratic and public meetings more accessible. Documenters trains and pays community members to attend public meetings, take and share notes, and gather related public documents. Minneapolis joins other Documenters networks in Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago. Find Minneapolis Documenters information here: https://minneapolis.documenters.org/ Hennepin County Workers Cancel Strike, Approve New Contract: Thirty-five hundred Hennepin County workers represented by AFSCME Locals 34 and 2822 voted to accept a new contract offer from Hennepin County in February. Workers, including human services workers and clerical workers, had been planning on going on strike at the beginning of February unless a last minute agreement could be made. The new offer from the County cleared “negative leave balances” that workers might have accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, County workers who didn’t have enough paid leave to cover COVID-related time off could go into a leave debt that would need to be repaid if they left employment with the County.  Free Home Weatherization Classes Through Rethos and Hennepin County: Workshops will teach [...]

Hennepin County Workers Reject County’s Offer and Authorize a Strike

Hennepin County Workers Reject County’s Offer and Authorize a Strike

By AFSCME Locals 34 and 2822 photo credit James "Jim" Edin AFSCME Locals 34 and 2822 have rejected Hennepin County’s latest labor contract offer. The County is attempting to stagnate wages, pass business costs on to employees, and is blatantly ignoring COVID risks employees are enduring during the pandemic. AFSCME Local 34 and Local 2822 members include social workers, human services representatives, service center representatives, and library workers. On Monday December 13,workers represented by AFSCME Locals 34 and 2822 voted to reject Hennepin County’s “Last, Best, and Final Offer,” and authorize a strike. The no vote comes one day after members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49, representing county snow plow drivers and other workers also rejected the county’s offer. Collectively AFSCME Locals 34 and 2822 represent 3,545 workers at Hennepin County, the two largest bargaining units who work at the county. Throughout the negotiations process, AFSCME has made it clear to the employer that its members demand wages that keep up with inflation, real compensation for the COVID costs, and respect. AFSCME also made it clear that the county’s take-backs were unacceptable, including introducing a two-tiered system eliminating sick and vacation leave for new hires (leaving PTO as the only option), and attacks on the union’s power by shifting costs of the arbitration process. The county is in excellent financial shape with the highest bond rating and hundreds of millions of dollars in reserves. In 2020 the county received $224 million in federal aid for COVID, and in 2021 received $246 million through the American Rescue plan, with the last round of relief specifically earmarked by President Biden to go to hazard pay.  Despite receiving nearly half a billion in COVID funding, the county has not offered hazard pay to workers to account for the risks they're taking while serving Hennepin County residents [...]

Unfair Labor Practices strike at Abbott Northwestern Hospital on October 5 and 6.

Unfair Labor Practices strike at Abbott Northwestern Hospital on October 5 and 6.

SEIU Healthcare MN members went on a two-day Unfair Labor Practices strike at Abbott Northwestern Hospital on October 5 and 6. Striking Radiology Technologists at Abbott have been bargaining with Allina Health since May. Among other issues, SEIU members are fighting for the same COVID-19 quarantine pay and benefits as other workers at Allina.  Photo Courtesy of SEIU Healthcare MN

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