This week in labor

A few nuggets of labor news for you as we wrap up the week.

Ahead of Labor Day weekend, this Gallup poll showed us that 68% of Americans approve of labor unions. 🎉

The “most pro-union, pro-worker” administration

Check out President Biden’s speech on workers and workers rights. AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh made remarks before introducing pharmacy technician and UFCW Local 99 member Jocelyn Cruces. Cruces spoke about being an essential worker, contracting COVID-19, and educating her community in Arizona. Secretary Walsh also mentioned inducting essential workers of COVID-19 into the Department of Labor’s Hall of Honor.

a screenshot of Joe Biden at a presidential podium in front of a US flag and Washington, D.C., flag speaking into a microphone
“Everyone’s entitled to be treated with dignity. And that’s what labor unions are all about: dignity.” He said one way we can solve global warming is by creating jobs.

Vaccine mandates for big employers

President Biden also announced a new plan to get people vaccinated against COVID-19. Part of this plan is a vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 workers, which means two-thirds of the workforce, or hundreds of millions of people. Large businesses will have to require their employees to get vaccinated, giving them paid time off to receive vaccines, or require them to get tested weekly under an emergency temporary standard enacted by OSHA.

❤️ Remembering restaurant workers on 9/11

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. ROC-United hosted a briefing where survivors who worked at Windows of the World shared their stories. Dr. Sekou Siby, president and CEO of ROC-United and a former worker at Windows of the World, talked about founding the organization in the aftermath of the tragedy. He also talked about what the 9/11 memorial is like for him as a survivor. “For most people, it’s a memorial site...for me, each name has a story that I remember, and it is vivid.”

Workers voice support for public safety charter amendment in Minneapolis

Workers from unions and worker centers in the Twin Cities gathered Friday morning for a press conference on the steps of Minneapolis city hall in support of the Yes 4 Minneapolis coalition. The coalition is urging Minneapolis residents to vote ‘yes’ on Question 2 on their ballots to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety. 

Lexi Collins, a board member of CTUL and a manager at a Holiday gas station in St. Louis Park, spoke with me about public safety in the workplace, and growing up on the North Side of Minneapolis. Collins has called the police a couple times at work in situations where mental health was a factor. “The St. Louis police are kind of nicer than Minneapolis, for one instance...a cop pulled out his guns and a Black officer was like ‘you have to look at the fact he’s dealing with mental health,’” said Collins. “We have a lot of customers that are not meaning to be rough but...if they’re going through substance abuse, I tend not to call the police a lot just because I fear for my community. Police are not trained to deal with them. Even though they’re on drugs, their lives still matter.”

Question: what does public safety mean to you?

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Before you go: The FairVote Five” got their jobs back, and FairVote MN publicly apologized for firing them. Audra Waylett, whom I spoke to this summer, told me she decided to pursue a position as a labor representative with a union. Congrats to the workers and their union for helping keep their employer accountable and transparent.

“The psyche knows we are not capable of handling grief in isolation.” We are each other’s harvest.