April showers bring worker power
Workers are sowing the seeds of safety.
Hello, springtime! And hello, friends. If you have a few extra minutes in your day, we’d appreciate it if you could fill out this survey. Thank you to those who have filled it out so far. I am loving learning more about our audience and plan on reaching out to people soon!
The latest from Workday Magazine
Isa’s story, High Injury Rates Push Minnesota’s Amazon Workers to Organize for Safety, shows how Amazon workers like Khali Jama are fighting to make their workplace safer and more accessible through advocacy and legislation. Not only do they face physical injuries from hazardous materials and repetitive motions, language is often a communication barrier.
Sarah’s latest story, The Filthy Emissions of Railroad Locomotives—and the Rail Unions Sounding the Alarm, sheds light on the rail workers facing harms from breathing polluted air and their fight to hold the industry to higher standards. Reaching zero-emissions rail technology nationwide means working against a slow and opaque federal regulatory system and an industry with much political influence, a prime example of how the fight to keep workers and the planet are one and the same.
University of Minnesota Law School students Dustin Loosbrock and Bobby Lindsay wrote an explainer for Workday on one of the most popular and frequent union-busting tactics that companies use: What Captive Audience Meetings Are—And Why Minnesota’s Labor Movement Wants to Ban Them.
Monday morning, I heard a lawmaker in a Minnesota state legislature committee reference Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle when discussing worker safety laws, then moments later, display a lack of knowledge about the recent child labor news in the state. As much as I enjoy it when people in power use literature to make cultural references, there are plenty of examples out there about workers’ struggles in THIS century that keep us informed. This is one reason why I want to lift up Maximillian Alvarez’s The Work of Living: Working People Talk About Their Lives and the Year the World Broke. As we approach an end to the federally declared public health emergency after 3 years of living in a pandemic, it’s clear that Telling a Complete Story of the Pandemic Must Start with Workers
Catching up on news to celebrate!
St. Paul city workers reached a tentative agreement after authorizing a strike a few weeks ago. Workers at the Minnesota Historical Society have their first TA, and Minneapolis Institute of Arts workers also have one!
As Governor Walz signed free breakfast and lunch for students into law, school food service workers in Hastings, Minn., were on their fifth week of a strike. Last week, that strike ended as workers reached a tentative agreement with the district. Children and school workers, who shoulder the burden of a meal system in crisis, in addition to the threat of violence and mass shootings, are also fighting for a bill of rights that would provide better wages and benefits for hourly school workers in the state of Minnesota, including education support professionals who went on strike in 2022.
Congrats to the Union Advocate and Minneapolis Labor Review for winning recognition for photography and writing at the International Labor Media Awards for work published in 2021!
A fun read on intersectional (and interspecies) labor power
Not only are cats the #1 reason to be on the internet, but they’re also legendary symbols of the labor movement. So it’s not surprising that an online cat personality has become a social media phenomenon and a voice for the masses. Check out an In These Times interview with a furry champion of the working class, Jorts The Cat Wants You To Fight Back.
Spring skills classes at Labor Education Service
How can we reckon with the U.S. labor movement’s relationship to foreign policy? Learn at the next skills class, led by our editor Sarah Lazare and labor historian and journalist, Jeff Schuhrke.
The AFL-CIO and the Global Cold War Thursday, April 12, 3:00 - 4:30pm
Video Production for Organizers Thursday, April 25th 1:00 - 3:30pm
Labor Law for Organizers Thursday, June 8, 5:30pm - 8:30pm
Soaking up the spring sunshine. We are each other’s harvest.