Trades back measure putting teeth into bidding requirements

Minnesota Building and Construction Trades President Harry Melander addressed union members during a rally at the Capitol March 6.

Public construction projects in Minnesota are awarded to the “lowest responsible bidder,” according to state law. But how do public agencies distinguish which bidders are responsible? It’s a question the state’s Building Trades unions want answered during the 2014 legislative session. With lawmakers likely to pass a bonding bill containing roughly $1 billion in infrastructure […]

School board to senators: Raise minimum wage to boost student achievement

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School board members weighed into the minimum-wage debate this week, when all seven members of St. Paul’s Board of Education signed a letter urging state senators to help close achievement gaps in their district by supporting a substantial wage hike this session. Louise Seeba, a board member and AFSCME Local 3757 member, spearheaded efforts to […]

Walmart fires Brooklyn Center associate who joined one-day strike

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April Williams knew the risk she ran last November, when she joined two co-workers in a one-day strike for higher wages, full-time scheduling and a voice on the job. But Williams, a single mother who lives with her sister and relies on public assistance to make ends meet, said she’d rather face those risks than […]

Backed by union funds, Penfield project brings jobs downtown St. Paul

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (right) and members of the City Council cut the ribbon at a grand opening celebration for The Penfield development.

Union members did more than just build The Penfield, the comprehensive, mixed-use development downtown St. Paul that celebrated its grand opening Feb. 6. They financed the project as well. The Penfield is the latest local investment by the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT), which backs union-build construction jobs across the country with capital from union […]

Mayors take up call for $9.50 minimum wage

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman talks about what a $9.50 minimum wage would mean for his city, as Hibbing Mayor Rick Cannata looks on.

Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 would boost the paychecks of an estimated 20,000 workers in St. Paul, injecting $27 million into the city’s economy. In Minneapolis 30,000 workers would get a raise, a $40 million bump for the city’s economy. It’s no surprise, then, that both Twin Cities mayors today added theirs to the […]

Union members urge Klobuchar to take a stand against Fast Track

CWA Minnesota State Council President Mona Meyer speaks at a trade demonstration outside Sen. Amy Klobuchar's offices in Minneapolis.

Union members today called on U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar to take a stand against efforts in Congress to put job-killing free-trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the fast track. Members of the Communications Workers of America marked a worldwide day of action against the TPP – the NAFTA-style trade agreement being negotiated in […]

Senators, fair-trade groups look to slow down Fast Track

Members of the Communications Workers union led a march against the Trans-Pacific Partnership fair-trade agreement in Minneapolis last year.

President Obama is pushing Congress to approve the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act, introduced in the U.S. House earlier this month and better known as “Fast Track authorization.” Fast Track would force Congress to take an up-or-down vote on trade agreements without offering amendments. But a large coalition of labor, environmental, family-farm and other grassroots […]

Legislative committee investigates higher levels of temp-agency employment

Enrique Barcenas, pictured while speaking at a Black Friday march in St. Paul, testified before the Legislature's Select Committee on Living Wage jobs.

Minnesota’s economy continues to recover from the Great Recession, but an increasing number of workers are finding employment through temp agencies and subcontracting firms. That trend drew scrutiny from the Legislature’s Select Committee on Living Wage Jobs at a hearing Dec. 19 in St. Paul. Jobs in the economy’s “employment services” sector, which includes subcontractors […]

Strike supporters say fast food’s poverty wages bad for workers, communities

Demonstrators in Minneapolis show their support for striking fast-food workers across the U.S.

As fast-food workers in an estimated 100 U.S. cities walked off the job today to protest the industry’s poverty-level wages, union members and faith leaders in Minnesota showed their solidarity – and their support for raising the state’s minimum wage – outside a block of fast-food restaurants in Northeast Minneapolis. The demonstration took place over […]

Call to end poverty wages rings out from Black Friday protests in Twin Cities

Members of the non-union worker group CTUL who clean area retail stores march in St. Paul. They picketed outside Target in Minneapolis earlier in the day.

Hundreds of people flocked to the Midway Walmart in St. Paul today, but it wasn’t deep discounts or door-buster deals they wanted. It was justice for workers who make the holiday season happen. Black Friday protests in the Twin Cities took on a renewed vigor this year, as activists from labor, faith and community groups […]

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