This week in labor
Behavioral healthcare workers in Minneapolis are planning a ULP strike, Amazon is retaliating against its workers in Shakopee, the Building Trades rallied for jobs, and more.
🧪 Order more free COVID tests!
The government is sending out another round of free at-home COVID tests, you can order them here.
Check out this piece from the New York Times (especially their graphic on COVID deaths by occupation): How America Reached One Million Covid Deaths.
And this one from In These Times about a new study from the Poor People’s Campaign, During the Pandemic, Poor Areas Have Had Twice the Death Rates of Rich Ones:
Denita Jones is a single mom and an essential worker in Dallas, Texas. While Denita received unemployment support early in the pandemic, when Texas ended the lockdown and her place of work reopened in May 2020 she was forced back into a high-risk workplace and lost those benefits. As she described, she was “terrified of going back to work,” but “it’s work or starve, risk my life and the health of my kids or get evicted.”
🚨 Know Your Rights!
The Know Your Rights at Work training with the Labor Education Service has been rescheduled to Tuesday, June 14, 9am-12pm.
Learn more and register here.
🏥 On the frontlines of the behavioral health crisis
“When I was 16 years old, I was admitted to Fairview Riverside for increasing anger, outbursts, depression, self harm, and anxiety. My parents worried about my safety as well as the safety of my younger siblings and themselves as my anger spiraled out of control…one night, things got to the point of needing hospitalization. I am now twice the age and on the other side of the inpatient experience,” said Kellie Benson, who has worked as a senior mental health coordinator at Allina Health’s Abbott Northwestern for five years. “We are fighting to be paid a living wage that is higher than the unbelievably low market rate for behavioral care jobs. We are also fighting for better safety measures and commitments from the hospital and leadership that our safety concerns will be taken seriously instead of dismissed or ignored. Both workers and the people experiencing mental health issues deserve nothing less.”
May is Mental Health Awareness month, and hundreds of Twin Cities mental healthcare workers negotiating their first union contract will go on their first one-day unfair labor practice strike next Tuesday. At a press conference this week, they said their employers, Allina Health and M Health Fairview, have not been listening to their safety and staffing concerns and aren’t responding to their proposals. Read Max Nesterak’s (@maxnesterak) story from the Minnesota Reformer. You can also watch a panel of mental healthcare workers tell their stories here. The strike will begin at 6am Tuesday morning with picket lines outside of Fairview Riverside, Abbott Northwestern, and Unity in Fridley. Community members are invited to rally at noon outside Fairview Riverside.
Amazon has been retaliating against workers who walked out of the Shakopee warehouse demanding time off for Eid and a $3 pay increase in April. Workers say Amazon has been reducing their hours.
Amazon worker Tyler Hamilton started a GoFundMe to help raise money for coworkers.
🛠️ MN Building Trades rally for jobs with dignity
“I’m a journey worker and am extremely proud to be able to support my kids as a single working mother,” said Vanessa Kaiser. “I am thriving as a female in a male-dominated industry and earning respect from my colleagues, showing them I have what it takes to be a laborer.” Kaiser, who left the healthcare industry during the pandemic to pursue a career in the trades, was fired last Friday from her job, but was able to find new employment with help from her union, Local 563.
Laborers and carpenters and workers in the building trades with LiUNA Minnesota & North Dakota, Teamsters 120, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49, the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters and more gathered for a rally at the state capitol yesterday to urge the state legislature to pass the $1.4 billion bonding bill before the legislative session ends on Monday. The capital investment bill would create construction jobs that will help repair water and transportation infrastructure.
🍖 A “rare case” of OSHA regulating ergonomic hazards
Madison McVan (@madimcvan) from Investigate Midwest reports on a settlement between OSHA and a pork processing plant in Oklahoma owned by Seaboard Foods. OSHA fined Seaboard in December for exposing workers to ergonomic hazards. The settlement they reached lowered the fines on Seaboard, but forces them to physically change the workplace so that workers will be less exposed to these hazards.
Not only do meatpacking workers face possible injuries caused by falling carcasses, but one worker was even fired after missing work due to back pain caused by job duties.
😂 Fast and Furious 10 dollars an hour
Enjoy some humor from Scott Seiss (@ScottSeiss) on TikTok about what it’s like working in retail.
Enable 3rd party cookies or use another browser
Mental health is as important as physical health. We are each other’s harvest.