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Random alley News July ’22

Random alley News July ’22

SEIU mental health workers and allies on the picketline in front of Abbott Northwestern Hospital for a one-day strike on May 24, 2022 Credit- SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa Nurses at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and other metro-area hospitals held informational pickets on June 1. / Minnesota Nurses Association Written or compiled by LINDSEY FENNER 100 Percent of Cristo Rey’s Graduating Class of 2022 Accepted Into College: For the twelfth year in a row, the Jesuit High School in Phillips West will be sending all of its seniors to college. The private Roman Catholic school, which was established in 2007, is part of the “Cristo Rey Network” of 38 schools around the US that prepare low-income students of color for post-secondary education. Congratulations graduates! Minimum Wage Increases July 1 in Minneapolis: On July 1, 2022, the minimum wage in Minneapolis is going up to $13.50 at small businesses and $15 at large businesses. The Minneapolis minimum wage ordinance defines small businesses as 100 or fewer employees and large businesses as more than 100 employees. Tips and gratuities do not count toward payment of a minimum wage. The City’s Department of Civil Rights oversees enforcement of the municipal minimum wage and wage theft prevention ordinances, and workers are encouraged to report violations online at www.minimumwage.minneapolismn.gov -City of Minneapolis South Minneapolis Tenants Go on a Rent Strike to Protest Safety and Maintenance Issues: Five families who live at 3100 Bloomington Avenue South announced on May 25 they would be withholding May rent to protest unsafe and unhealthy living conditions. Residents are supported by United Renters for Justice - Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia, a tenant-led housing justice organization. The property was formerly owned by landlord Stephen Frenz, who in 2016 was sued by tenants, lost his rental license, and later went to jail. The new owners of the building say they are not affiliated [...]

June Random alley News

By LINDSEY FENNER Ingebretsen’s Nordic Marketplace Named Minnesota’s Family-Owned Small Business of the Year: Friend of the alley newspaper and 100-year old Lake Street small business Ingebretsen’s was honored by the US Small Business Association as part of National Small Business Week in May. Four generations of Ingebretsens have owned the retail business celebrating Scandinavian culture which includes a gift shop and butcher shop, as well as cultural education classes. The current co-owner, Julie Ingebretsen, has been active in mentoring new immigrant business owners along Lake Street. Congratulations Ingebretsen’s! East Phillips Park Basketball Court Getting Redone: The basketball court will be repaired, resurfaced, and restriped. According to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the work should be done by June. Eighteen courts, from basketball and tennis to bike polo, are being redone in parks throughout Minneapolis. Check minneapolisparks.org/courtrepairs to see if your favorite court will be impacted. Funding for the project is through the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan, which increases capital, maintenance, and rehabilitation funding for Minneapolis Parks. CTUL, Construction Workers, Call on Twin Cities Developers to Join the Fight Against Labor Abuse: Construction workers with Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL) and allies want the largest Twin Cities developers to join the Building Dignity and Respect Standards Council (BDR). Under the worker-driven council, developers would sign agreements to uphold standards such as safe working conditions and fair pay, as well as workers protections from wage theft, human trafficking, and abuse. The construction industry in the Twin Cities has struggled with human rights violations. According to a 2019 report by BDR, construction workers commonly experience labor abuse such as wage theft, dangerous working conditions, discrimination, retaliation, and labor trafficking. Most recently [...]

May Random alley News 22

May Random alley News 22

Nellie Stone Johnson/ Hennepin County Library Special Collections By Lindsey Fenner The Women’s Environmental Institute Is Offering Free Classes for Phillips Folks: WEI offers a variety of courses and workshops on gardening, farming, herbalism, food preservation and more. People who work, live, play or pray in Phillips can take these events for free. Most classes are at the Amador Hill Farm Campus in North Branch. Check out the class schedule and learn more about the Women's Environmental Institute: w-e-i.org. Contact Jerry at jerry@w-e-i.org for more information on how to get free registration. Urban Farm Veto Upheld by City Council: On March 24, the Minneapolis City Council upheld Mayor Frey’s veto of CM Chavez’ motion supporting the East Phillips Urban Farm by a vote of 7-6. Although CM Chavez said he hoped to bring a new motion forward at the next full council meeting on April 14, no motion was made. According to the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute, the community group organizing the Urban Farm, they are in negotiations with the City of Minneapolis with a meeting scheduled for April 26. So far EPNI has rejected various proposals from the City. One would require the organization to come up with $14 million by this summer to purchase the full site. Another proposal would sell EPNI 2.9acre of the site for $1 but would include the demolition of the Roof Depot building. Midtown Farmers Market Opens Saturday May 7 at Renovated Plaza: After three years at a temporary location, the Midtown Farmers Market will be returning to Lake and Hiawatha at a new civic plaza. The project was a collaboration between Hennepin County, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization, and the developers of the newly built apartment complex near the plaza. The new plaza is next to the Lake Street/Midtown Light rail station. The Market is open Saturdays May-October from 8am to 1pm and Tuesdays June-October 3pm-6pm. Vendors accept [...]

Random alley news April ’22

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 [...]

Let’s get smart

Let’s get smart

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. [...]

February Random News

February Random News

by LINDSEY FENNER Phillips-area Cultural Malls Receive State COVID Relief Grants: At the end of 2021, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded funds of up to $300,000 each to twelve “cultural mall operators” throughout Minnesota, including the four listed below in the Phillips area. The $3 million program is part of the $70 million Main Street COVID Relief Grant packages passed by the State Legislature in 2021. To qualify, facilities had to have 50% or more tenants identifying as Black, African American, Asian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native, or other racial or ethnic minority. Support our vibrant Phillips businesses here: 24 Mall, 912 E 24th Street Midtown Global Market, 920 E Lake Street JigJiga Business Center, 1516 E Lake Street Mercado Central, 1515 E Lake Street New Workers Unionize at Allina’s Abbott Northwestern Hospital: 220 lab workers at Abbott have recently voted to join SEIU Healthcare MN (Service Employees International Union). According to SEIU, worker organizing focused on relief from understaffing and heavy workloads and increasing wages for healthcare workers. Newly organized workers include Cytotechnologists, Histotechnicians, Laboratory Assistants, Medical Laboratory Scientists, and Medical Laboratory Technicians. They join other SEIU and Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) unionized workers at Allina. North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NāTIFS) Receives Award for Excellence in Human Services: Based out of the Midtown Global Market, NāTIFS Indigenous Food Lab was honored by the State of Minnesota for mobilizing to get healthy indigenous meals to neighbors in need. Over the winter of 2020-2021 NāTIFS with community partners distributed 80,000 culturally appropriate meals to tribal elders and families across Minnesota. Founded by the Sioux Chef, NāTIFS is “dedicated to addressing the economic and health crises [...]

Why I Voted to Strike

Why I Voted to Strike

3,500 Hennepin County workers will walk out in February unless a last minute deal is made, and I will be one of them. By LINDSEY FENNER photo by Jayne Mikulay photo by Brad Sigal photo by Brad Sigal Editorial note: AFSCME Locals 34 and 2822 reached mediated tentative agreements with Hennepin County and withdrew their “intent to strike” after the February print edition of the alley went to press. Hennepin County AFSCME members will be voting on this proposed offer in the first week of February. As you may have read in last month’s alley, Hennepin County AFSCME workers in Locals 34 and 2822 voted to reject Hennepin County’s last contract offer and authorized a strike. In mid-January, our negotiation team went back to the table with the County and received the exact same offer our memberships already voted to reject. After this latest insult and show of bad faith, our locals filed an intent to strike on January 19. If a last-minute deal can’t be made, we --3,500 County social services workers and clerical workers-- will be walking out at the beginning of February. I’m a member of Local 2822, which represents about 1,200 clerical workers at Hennepin County. We work in every department of the County, doing the support work that is often invisible but absolutely essential for every other County worker to keep serving County residents. We are among the lowest paid workers in the County, and more likely to be women and workers of color. Many of us qualify for the same County assistance we help County residents access. We are paid like we’re disposable. We are also the workers the County furloughed en masse at the beginning of the pandemic and the first workers called back into buildings (indeed, some of us NEVER stopped working in buildings). We’ve seen our staffing cut, so we’re always working short-staffed, even without waves of pandemic illness. We are treated like we’re disposable. We haven’t received a cent of [...]

Raise Your Voice – Sitting Bull vs Jeff Bezos

Raise Your Voice – Sitting Bull vs Jeff Bezos

By Peter Molenaar This parcel of territory, this domain of the Alley, if you will, has imprinted upon the writer’s mind since employment at Smith Foundry began in 1979. He was also, at that time, a volunteer at the Paul Robeson Marxist Bookstore, located in  DinkyTown. A poster of the iconic Sitting Bull was prominent on the wall there. So then, I was pleasantly surprised to find Curt Brown’s MINNESOTA HISTORY article (Star Tribune, Sunday, December 12),: “Looking back on Sitting Bull’s visits”. I had no idea that Sitting Bull had toured the Twin Cities on two occasions subsequent to Custer’s last stand. He actually attended mass at the Assumption Catholic Church in Richfield! As far as the eye could see, far beyond seven generations, what spirit did the sitting bull manifest… reflection, contemplation, meditation, even serene contentment while chewing the cud? Such was the nature of his namesake. These were whirlwind tours that were punctuated with press briefings, a telephone, ballet and theater, even an aborted assassination attempt. Federal agents intended to impress. However, there were starving people on the Dakota plains. Even so, on a bitter cold day, “a beggar woman, with a worn wistful face and pleading eyes, stood in a supplicating attitude, her thin blue hands outstretched for alms.” From the proceeds of his autograph sales, Sitting Bull plucked out at least $10 of silver—worth about $280 today—and handed it to the woman… thus the opulence of tall buildings contrasted with her plight. How does Jeff Bezos compare with Sitting Bull? From Wikipedia: “Jeffrey… American entrepreneur, media proprietor, investor, computer engineer, commercial astronaut… he is the founder of Amazon… with a net worth of around $200 billion, he is the wealthiest person in the world…” Okay then, Bernie Sanders put it this [...]

Two Faces

By Peter Molenaar I must be loosing it.  Damn rabbit ears”¦maybe this way”¦no, nothing.  What is up with this new thin screen HD television?  No more political attack ads?  Arrghh. Seriously, many of these ads have the effect of splashing acid on the opponent”'s face.  An ugly caricature is created.  T.P.- G.O.P. types appear to be more proficient in the art. The series of ads produced by Mark Dayton”'s people were more positive.  They included visual-bites of an industrial scenario set at Smith Foundry (located in East Phillips).  My co-workers are now dubbed “movie-stars” by the Teamsters Union! (more…)

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