Bernie Hesse: ‘Don’t do something out of charity, do it out of solidarity’

He is gruff and often combative, principled and usually blunt. But above all else, Bernie Hesse is a trade unionist. From his days as a grocery clerk to his current work as director of special projects for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189, Hesse has made himself ubiquitous in St. Paul’s labor community. If […]

Solidarity puts historic referendum campaign in North Branch over the top

We all do better when we work together. That’s the lesson teachers and support staff in the North Branch Area Schools learned from the district’s first successful referendum campaign in at least 15 years. And it was a valuable lesson, as voters in a special election May 23 approved all three of District 138’s funding […]

Pipe Trades apprentices test skills at regional competition in Twin Cities

It would be an understatement to say the competition among Pipe Trades apprentices – and apprenticeship programs – held in the Twin Cities June 7-8 was intense. How intense? After a labor reporter chatting with one of the visiting instructors snapped a photo of some plumbing specs, he was confronted by another out-of-town instructor, who demanded […]

Erik Brandt: An open letter to Macalester College (and its peers)

I’d like to tell you about my long-time colleague, Amy. Over the last 20 years at Harding High School in St. Paul, I have watched Amy work tirelessly with thousands of our fantastic students – nearly all of whom are low-income, minority, first generation to attend college – to help them navigate the college acceptance […]

Unions weigh in on Trump’s plans to ‘modernize’ disastrous NAFTA trade deal

Since being established in 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement – better known as NAFTA – has triggered job losses, depressed wages and shifted more power to corporations. Now, the Trump administration has notified Congress it plans to “modernize” the horrible trade deal, giving working families an historic opportunity to shape a better trade […]

Home care workers ratify new contract, urge lawmakers to get serious about looming care crisis

Union members who provide in-home health services to clients across Minnesota have ratified a new contract with the state that will lift wages, provide holiday pay, boost paid-time off and expand training opportunities for an estimated 27,000 home care workers statewide. The new contract, home care workers’ second since voting to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota […]

Nurses buy – and forgive – $2.6 million in medical debt for Minnesotans

Twin Cities community members overwhelmingly supported Allina nurses during their historic strike last year. Today, members of the Minnesota Nurses Association offered a thank-you gift for that support, purchasing and forgiving the past-due accounts of 1,800 families facing a combined $2.6 million in medical debt. MNA, a union of more than 20,000 registered nurses, located […]

New worker center reaches out to poultry, packinghouse workers in Minnesota

The Hardman Avenue Workers Center, located at the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189 hall in South St. Paul, opened with a celebration and free citizenship workshops for immigrant workers last week. The goal of the initiative, Local 1189 organizing director Abraham Wangnoo said, is to “start teaching people what their rights are,” particularly […]

Denise Rodriguez: ‘Our contract is the most powerful tool we have’

When she and her friends played school as kids, Denise Rodriguez was always the teacher. As a teenager she dreamed of teaching Spanish at Harding High School, just like her favorite teacher. Now Rodriguez, president of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers for the last three years, is set to retire June 12 after 39 […]

Rose Roach: Let’s bring back sanity, fairness and compassion

Our wealth is being stolen from us. We are being robbed of our opportunity to better our plight. This isn’t some liberal conspiracy “theory” – it’s an actual conspiracy. Public education is being defunded so only those with money can get a “good” education for their children. The cost of college is so high that […]