Workers bring the heat
A week of labor actions to kick off the summer.
Howdy, folks! Hope you’re staying cool and hydrated. We had an awesome Know Your Rights at Work class on Tuesday, it was a friendly introduction to labor law and a good refresher for those who needed one.
🥖 Frontline workers, let’s get this bread
🪧 We built this city
Yesterday, construction workers with the Building Dignity and Respect coalition including CTUL, LiUNA, and North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, marched across Minneapolis donned in bright yellow shirts and hard hats. They stopped in front of properties currently being worked on by the developers that they’re inviting to sign onto the program. They focused on three: United Properties, Solhem, and Yellow Tree.
🌆 Will Minneapolis get a labor standards board?
In response to the pandemic and George Floyd uprisings, a coalition of labor organizations and businesses, including Minneapolis AFL-CIO, SEIU Local 26, CTUL, ROC Minnesota, UNITE HERE Local 17, Kids Count on Us, and Main Street Alliance, launched an effort to establish a Labor Standards Board with the city of Minneapolis. The coalition released a report with a proposal that argues that essential workers and their expertise are necessary to achieve economic and social recovery and security.
“Who knows how to keep children safe, happy, and cared for better than the childcare providers who spend eight hours a day with them? Who is better suited to know a buildings’ or residents’ needs than a residential worker? Who knows which chemical solutions are the most effective or harmful to people better than the janitors who use them all day or night? Who knows better how to remain calm, making sure customers are satisfied quickly during lunch rush than a restaurant worker?” –A Pathway to a Minneapolis Where Workers, Businesses, and Community Can Thrive report
The entire city council showed up in support at the press conference, including Mayor Jacob Frey, who spoke in support of the board: “When we talk about the future, we’re talking about workers’ rights…it is the cities that embrace this future.”
However, on Thursday, Frey and the city council moved forward with the appointment of a city coordinator who city staffers have demanded shouldn’t be in the role…
👀 City coordinator appointed against workers’ demands
Following extensive public comments, a public hearing, organizing from Black and Brown city staffers and allies, more than 80 signatories, and a three-week postponement, the Minneapolis city council officially voted to appoint interim city coordinator Heather Johnston into a full-term role for three more years.
Staffers demanded a transparent nationwide search for a leader who can meet the moment, address racial equity, and reject the status quo. Johnston has been the subject of a human resources investigation due to the allegations workers have brought forward.
I talked with Kelly Muellman, a program manager in the sustainability department who testified at the hearing and stands with her Black and Brown coworkers. Muellman said that the workers know that an anti-racist culture must be built over time, and that’s why they’ve spoken up and are building that trust within themselves. They even spoke up about past coordinators. These are workers who are trying to bring about cultural change from within, and they’ve met obstacles every step of the way.
“Mayor Frey, you led us in a pro-workers rights chant…I saw many of you raising your fists in solidarity with workers rights,” said council member Robin Wonsley. “The dozens of people who are sitting here and in that overflow room…they are workers asking the city–their employer–to hold up basic labor standards as well as address embedded entrenched racism that has not only been widely noted in the recent MDHR report and findings, but that we know what’s happening across the city…this is something you all cheered for yesterday.”
🩺 Patients over profits
Solidarity to the nurses currently fighting for fair contracts! They’ll be holding informational pickets Tuesday, June 21 in Duluth and Hastings at Essentia and St. Luke’s, and Tuesday, June 28 in Moose Lake at Essentia. Register to join them here.
Join Amazon workers at the Shakopee warehouse or online at today at 4pm to demand a $3 hour raise, holiday time, and safety on the job.
🔥 What we’re reading…
Racket’s Jay Boller answers: What the Hell Has Been Going on at MPR?
CalMatters’ series by Julie Cart: Overworked California firefighters struggle with PTSD, suicide, fatigue, intensifying wildfires.
Thank you for reading. We are each other’s harvest.