How campaign workers fought to achieve the first-ever collective bargaining agreement with the MN DFL

Behind the scenes of Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL)’s Nov. 6 historic general election wins, campaign workers claimed a lesser-known victory, won after a fraught struggle against  – ironically – the DFL. Minnesota campaign workers negotiated the first-ever collective bargaining agreement. Their efforts in securing this agreement from the MN DFL were aided by Campaign Workers Guild, an independent national union formed by former Bernie Sanders campaign workers. The two-year accord gives campaign workers a three percent pay raise and, for the first time in any state, time and a half pay for overtime, along with other benefits. Continue Reading

Sumer Spika: Home care workers unionize to bring dignity to work we love

On Tuesday, July 8th, I was proud to be part of the group who celebrated turning in thousands of cards signed by Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) and other home care workers from across Minnesota expressing our interest in forming a union. The move not only triggered the largest union election in Minnesota’s history, it was the first step in improving our state’s home care system so it works for those who need services and values the work of those of us who provide the services, some 90% of whom are women.If you talk to the thousands of home care providers who signed cards, you will hear that same number of unique and powerful stories. There is, however, a common thread that helps illuminate why this is such a powerful movement: we love providing care for the seniors and people with disabilities who we serve.For me, it is all about a gorgeous 6-year-old little girl named Jayla. She was born with a genetic disorder called Opitz Syndrome, has a pulmonary hypertension, and is deaf. She requires breathing treatments, help with toileting, and help doing many other daily activities. Continue Reading

Local, national leaders discuss transit equity in St. Paul

A sense of powerlessness on the part of transit riders, jobs and economic development, equitable and comprehensive transit in Minnesota — these were some of the issues up for discussion at a St. Paul transit forum that included national and local voices. On January 14, local community members, including politicians, community organizers, and transit leaders were joined by national union leaders for “Everyone Deserves a Seat:  Transportation, Jobs, and Equity Forum” at the Carpenters Local Union 322 in St. Paul. Core to the panelists’ discussions were the ways in which they believe that Minnesota’s transit systems must develop. Continue Reading

OPINION | In musician lockout, Minnesota Orchestra management employs calculated, callous, and corrosive tactics

If you want to know who’s responsible for the contract stalemates with both major orchestras in town, point your fingers at Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Brothers and every other hand twisting the screwdriver of economic conservatism. They’ve proven that if you devote enough millions in campaign contributions and televised propaganda to the demonization of unions, you can turn whole swaths of working-class Americans into self-bashing misogynists.

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Bernie Hesse: Seeing hope in young organizers at Jimmy Johns

Bernie Hesse is the Director of Special Projects and Political Director at UFCW Local 1189. Hesse took a break from contract negotiations for grocery workers to talk to the Twin Cities Daily Planet about the future of unions and jobs in Minnesota.  “We believe that working people should be paid a good and fair wage,” he told the Daily Planet. “Nobody should have to worry about whether or not they can afford health care or put food on the table.” TCDP: So where are unions going? The labor movement that we’re going to see down the road is much less bureaucratic. Continue Reading