At organizing boot camp, workers look to build power from the inside out

It takes a strong union to bargain a strong contract. Or, as CWA Local 7304 member Jim Wiebe put it: “A hammer doesn’t swing by itself.” A union steward and welder at the New Flyer bus facility in St. Cloud, Wiebe was one of 55 activists from across the Midwest who traveled to St. Paul last week … [Continue Reading ...]

MN’s public-sector workers aren’t mourning Janus, they’re organizing

Early on a Wednesday morning last month, about two dozen St. Paul water department employees trudged into a small conference room for a meeting with their union representatives. After listening to a quick pitch, the workers signed new membership cards, shook hands with their reps and punched in for … [Continue Reading ...]

Supreme Court ‘weaponizes’ First Amendment to attack public-sector workers

In a 5-4 decision along party lines, the U.S. Supreme Court today altered the landscape of public-sector collective bargaining in Minnesota and more than 20 other states. The high court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME makes "right-to-work" the law of the land in all public-sector workplaces, opening … [Continue Reading ...]

Trades-backed alliance ramps up recruitment as MN’s construction industry booms

A union-backed initiative to recruit more women and people of color into construction careers is hoping a new website will amplify its marketing push and help ease the industry’s stubborn labor shortage. The Construction Careers Pathways Alliance, which brings together Building Trades unions, … [Continue Reading ...]

Feature Story

Supreme Court ‘weaponizes’ First Amendment to attack public-sector workers

In a 5-4 decision along party lines, the U.S. Supreme Court today altered the landscape of public-sector collective bargaining in Minnesota and more than 20 other states. The high court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME makes "right-to-work" the law of the land in all … [Continue Reading ...]

Labor in the Community

Trades-backed alliance ramps up recruitment as MN’s construction industry booms

A union-backed initiative to recruit more women and people of color into construction careers is hoping a new website will amplify its marketing push and help ease the industry’s stubborn labor shortage. The Construction Careers Pathways Alliance, which brings together Building Trades unions, … [Continue Reading ...]

Letter Carriers’ food drive restocks local food shelves

Stamp Out Hunger is the nation’s largest one-day food drive, and it's powered by union members. Letter Carriers across the country collected non-perishable food along their routes today for delivery to local food pantries. The carriers’ union, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), … [Continue Reading ...]

Dig into labor history with Untold Stories

The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library rolls out its Untold Stories series each May for Labor History Month. The series focuses on workers’ rights, with programs that challenge audiences to question what we know of labor history, while lifting up workers’ efforts to organize, seek respect and … [Continue Reading ...]

Area Building Trades councils honored for community outreach

Local Building Trades unions have put an emphasis in recent years on reaching out to make more women, veterans and people of color aware of their registered apprenticeship programs and the middle class career opportunities they make possible. Those efforts earned national recognition Wednesday in … [Continue Reading ...]

Labor Voices

Kera Peterson: Political action critical to defending our basic freedoms

There are just a few weeks left in Minnesota’s legislative session. During this session Republican members voted for a bill that would allow employers to pay less than minimum wage to tipped employees. They supported bills that would weaken teacher licensure, criminalize protest and prohibit … [Continue Reading ...]

Ken Peterson: Safety legislation offers lesson in policy over party

April 28 is Workers Memorial Day, meant to remember those who were killed at work and to advocate for improved worker safety and health. The day is also a useful reminder that elected representatives don’t need to be locked in acrimony and positional politics and that they can help. Though the … [Continue Reading ...]

Smith hits the ground running in fight to save pensions

When a Twin Cities-based trucking company abruptly closed three days before Thanksgiving 2016, Tina Smith, then Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, was among the first elected officials to respond. Owners of Lakeville Motor Express, a union employer, had allegedly siphoned off the firm’s resources … [Continue Reading ...]

USW’s Parzino made a career of paper, politics and putting working folks first

Philip and Genevieve Parzino were working at Brown and Bigelow when they met in the 1920s. Eventually, they fell in love and married. Their story may sound typical, but Genevieve and Philip were 12 and 13 years old when they met on that calendar factory floor. It's a bit of family history their son … [Continue Reading ...]