Together, we can make Minnesota a safer place to work

Editor’s note: Ken Peterson was appointed commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry by Gov. Mark Dayton in December 2010. Previously, he served in the same position from 1988 to 1990. Peterson wrote this guest column on Workers Memorial Day for the May 2012 Union Advocate. Each year Workers Memorial Day is celebrated […]

Letter Carriers urge to Franken to shape postal reform

Letter Carriers delivered a message to Minnesota Sen. Al Franken on April 17, gathering outside DFLer’s office in St. Paul to urge him not to support efforts afoot in Congress to dismantle the U.S. Postal Service. Roughly 50 people took part in the early-evening demonstration, organized by the National Association of Letter Carriers. Members of […]

One year later, judge orders Jimmy John’s to reinstate fired whistleblowers

A federal judge last month ordered a Twin Cities-based Jimmy John’s restaurant franchise to reinstate six workers fired over one year ago after blowing the whistle on company policies that expose customers to sandwiches made by sick workers. The union seeking to organize Jimmy John’s workers praised the ruling as a victory for whistleblower rights, […]

Minnesota Union Leadership Program accepting applications through May 18

The University of Minnesota Labor Education Service is currently accepting applications for the 2012-2013 Minnesota Union Leadership Program, which will begin in September. Through six in-depth sessions scheduled over nine months, program participants will study the labor movement and discuss how to address the challenges facing unions today. This program provides the opportunity for emerging […]

Union plumbers provide help for Minnesota homeowners in need

On one Saturday each year, hundreds of Minnesota plumbers step up to improve the lives of members of their communities through the Water’s Off program. These union volunteers fix plumbing problems for elderly, disabled and low-income homeowners, reducing their water consumption and their water bills. The 2012 Water’s Off event March 31 drew a total […]

Organizing Institute plans Minnesota training in June

The AFL-CIO Organizing Institute and the Minnesota AFL-CIO will host a three-day training for union member organizers in St. Paul from June 8 to 10. Unions and labor federations affiliated with the national AFL-CIO are able to sponsor members to this training, which is designed to equip member activists and member organizers with basic organizing […]

Prevailing Wage is good for workers, contractors and taxpayers

Editor’s note: Harry Melander is president of the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council, a position he has held since 2009. He also has served as executive secretary of the St. Paul Building and Trades Council since 2006. Melander wrote this column for the May 2012 Union Advocate. As Minnesotans, we expect our tax […]

With a new levy secured, District #622 turns its back on union workers

When the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School Board needed help building public support for its operating levy last fall, it reached out to the teachers’ union and other employee bargaining units. The district’s union workers made thousands of phone calls, knocked doors and provided the force behind a levy campaign that won support from 70 percent […]

Writer takes aim at U.S. immigration policy

Something critical gets lost amid all the hysteria and bluster that passes for immigration policy debate in the U.S., according to prominent labor photojournalist David Bacon. That something, he said in a lecture April 12 in St. Paul, is this: “We’re talking about human beings.” If politicians really wanted to reform U.S. immigration policy, Bacon […]

On Tax Day, unions lead call for banks to pay their fair share

When it comes to avoiding taxes, Wells Fargo appears to know every loophole in the book. The banking giant has received nearly $18 billion in tax breaks over the last three years, including $681 million in federal tax refunds. Now, a growing number of people – those of us without access to offshore tax shelters […]