Labor

Airport workers call for $15-an-hour minimum wage

(Taken from video by University of Minnesota Labor Education Service)

Building on efforts by fast food workers and others to demand higher pay, workers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport called on the Metropolitan Airports Commission to institute a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

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In the interest of whom?

September is the time I miss teaching the most. It is the time when hope reigns, or at least makes itself felt. It is the time when students vow to try harder, teachers bring summer ideas for their classrooms, stay until after their own family’s dinner hour to set up something new. Some years this feeling continues until June, with parents who help out, families who pitch in and a good principal. It will never be perfect. It will never be precise. Teaching is an art, learned the way all arts are learned through trial and error, instincts honed over time, and with practice. I have been reading Mike Rose’s book The Mind At Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker. I see similarities in our struggles as classroom teachers and aides with those who work in service professions: waiting tables, clerking in an office, serving as a receptionist, or delivering packages. In many ways teachers do all those things, and at times, do them simultaneously. In addition to organizing a classroom, we teach thirty to forty human beings, many times in five different classes each day. By the afternoon we have seen between one hundred and fifty to two hundred students. We have guided them to their desks, laughed with them while standing by their chairs as they devise a marvelous question, picked up books for them at the library, kept track of their work and participation. In some classrooms we play music to welcome them, in others we are at the door, shaking hands, commenting on new hairstyles, a great game the night before, a fine essay written for college admissions. After they have left we have sat at our desks grading papers.

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More than 40 percent of Minnesota workers lack access to paid sick days

(Photo courtesy of California Labor Federation) Governor Jerry Brown recently signed state legislation to allow more than 6.5 million workers to earn paid sick days on the job.

Some 41% of Minnesota workers lack access to even a single day of earned sick time, a new report finds. Those who have the most difficulty taking time off from work when they are sick include low-income workers and those employed in food service and other jobs where they are in regular contact with the public.

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The long history of blaming teachers

The paradox of teaching is that it’s seen as noble, missionary work when it isn’t the refuge of the lazy and incompetent. We see this in how teachers are portrayed in movies—especially movies about teaching —as well as in the rhetoric pervading all sides of our current reform debates. But has it always been this way?

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Minnesota takes steps to make work pay

Minnesota passed two high-impact strategies for making work pay this year: increasing the Working Family Credit (our state’s Earned Income Tax Credit) and raising the minimum wage.

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Minnesota fast food workers join nationwide strike

(From video by Labor Education Service)

Workers at McDonald’s, Subway and other fast food restaurants in the Twin Cities joined a nationwide strike Thursday for $15 an hour and the right to form a union.

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Jimmy John's workers launch viral campaign for paid sick days

Jimmy John's workers are using this poster to promote their campaign for paid sick days.

Three years ago, Jimmy John’s fired six Minneapolis sandwich workers for putting up over 3,000 posters publicizing a grisly truth: workers at the chain are routinely forced by company policy and low pay to come to work and make sandwiches while sick.

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Minnesota's labor movement can celebrate some key 2014 organizing and political victories

While our last post, Labor Day is the new Memorial Day: former lawmaker John Kriesel retweets the confusion, suggests that some Americans on twitter are drinking a strange brew of amnesia and mission creep, the labor movement in Minnesota can savor some victories in 2014.

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The hands that feed us: Workers at the Minnesota State Fair

(Photos by Jennifer Larson)

Every year crowds of people head to the Minnesota State Fair, thinking about the food they'll eat, the rides they'll take and the people they'll watch.

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Home care workers announce victory in historic union election

(From video produced by Howard Kling, Labor Education Service, University of Minnesota)

On Tuesday, Minnesota’s home care workers etched a new chapter in the state’s history, alongside the miners who organized the Iron Range, the truck drivers who shut down Minneapolis in 1934 and the women who led landmark strikes by teachers in 1946 and 1970 and by nurses in 1984.

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