Where is the “hero pay” for frontline workers?

The seasons change, but working conditions for those on the frontline stay the same. Plus, highlights from the MN AFL-CIO convention! 🍂

Dr. Cirien Saadeh (@CMiriam), the Midwest Workers Rights Correspondent from Prism, reports on the Frontline Worker Pay Working Group’s overdue recommendations from the perspective of workers:

“Legislators need to see what COVID did to families and re-evaluate the costs,” said Camilla. “I’m not sure why there isn’t a sense of that. It’s always, ‘how we are going to give money to so many people.’ When people were testifying, I knew it wasn’t going to go anywhere. They’re prioritizing, they’re pitting people against each other. Everything has to get politicized.” 

Check out the piece for more details and worker perspectives. You can read and watch meetings and testimony here all the way back until July 28.

A special session is needed to move forward, but Republicans are threatening to remove Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, so Governor Tim Walz is reluctant to call the session.

“Even though the $250 million is vitally important to get out the door to workers, we don’t think that workers are better off if the health commissioner is fired,” said DFL Representative Ryan Winkler in a speech to the virtual Minnesota AFL-CIO convention on Tuesday. “And anti-vax Republicans are driving the Senate agenda in order to get that 250 million dollars out so we are going to hold the line to make sure that this special session, when we reach an agreement, is focused on workers.”

Essential workers have expressed frustration that Republican members of the working group want to restrict eligibility for the hero pay.

Workday Minnesota sent inquiries to the members of the working group and so far have received a few email responses: 

“I recognize the sacrifices of our frontline workers throughout this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commissioner Roslyn Robertson of the Department of Labor and Industry. “I have been working closely with members of the Working Group and labor coalition and am hopeful that we can reach an agreement to ensure frontline workers get the support they deserve.”

“We are currently working with a bipartisan working group to determine what is in the best interests of all Minnesotans,” said Republican Senator Karin Housley. “It is my fervent hope that we will come up with a fair relief package that best reflects the values of our communities across the state.”

Also featured on Workday, Michael Moore (@unionadvocate) from St. Paul’s Union Advocate reports on MN AFL-CIO’s 55th convention which took place this week. From the story:

“We were organizing virtually,” Augsburg staff member Katie Asfeld said. “We didn’t have an opportunity to bump into colleagues after meetings or get together and have coffee…

“We developed different ways for staff to be able to show their support, and at the end of the day we saw that whether we are virtual or in person, there is power in our collective voices.”

🚨 SURVEY ALERT: Are you a young or rural worker?

The Minnesota AFL-CIO is looking for people to fill out these surveys:

  • Fill this one out if you are a young worker.

  • Fill this one out if you are a rural worker.

Share with your networks!


More news

  • Dharna Noor (@dharnanoor) reports for Gizmodo on the announcements of new labor protections for workers under extreme heat. 🔥

The crisp air of autumn approaches. We are each other’s harvest. 🍁