Letters to the Editor: Kudos to Metsa for walking in low-wage workers’ skin

A story in the May Union Advocate (“A constant juggling act”) about state Rep. Jason Metsa of Virginia trying to live for a week on a minimun-wage budget brings to mind a quote from the famous novel “To Kill a Mocking-bird,” in which lawyer Atticus Finch tells his young daughter, “You never really understand a […]

Unions see plenty to like in results of 2013 legislative session

Legislative leaders called 2013 the “education session” for the new investments in E-12 students, and a bill to extend union rights to 21,000 child-care providers and home health care workers grabbed headlines as Republicans tried to filibuster it to death. But the 2013 legislative session yielded many other victories for union members and middle class […]

Organizing bill extends child-care, home health workers ‘the respect we deserve’

Child-care providers and in-home health care workers celebrated a hard-fought victory for their professions yesterday, after the Minnesota House joined the Senate in passing a bill that would allow them to vote on whether to form a union. The celebration spilled from the House gallery into the Capitol hallways, as pro-union child-care and home-care workers […]

Bill would grant bargaining rights to Minnesota child-care providers

Surrounded by more than a dozen family child-care providers clad in pro-union T-shirts, two state lawmakers unveiled legislation Feb. 25 that would grant collective-bargaining rights to providers who receive subsidies from the State of Minnesota. The Child Care Collective Bargaining Act, introduced by Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) and Rep. Mike Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park), could […]

Eliot Seide: Minnesota’s moment to rebuild the middle class

Minnesota is poised to do great things this year, the first time in 22 years that Democrats control the governor’s office and both chambers of the Legislature. This is Minnesota’s moment to fix the budget, raise fair revenue, and build an economy that grows good jobs and the middle class. Union members campaigned hard to […]

Unions see ‘a generational opportunity’ as state lawmakers begin work at Capitol

When the Minnesota Legislature convened at noon Jan. 8, everything changed – and nothing changed. What has changed? For the first time in a generation, the DFL holds majorities in both the Minnesota House and Senate, while also holding the governor’s office. What hasn’t changed? The state still faces structural budget deficits that the last […]

City of Stillwater workers protest stalled contract negotiations

The City of Stillwater is stalling in contract negotiations with its workers, and members of AFSCME Local 517 are running out of patience. Before the Stillwater City Council convened its Truth in Taxation hearing last night, city employees and their supporters demonstrated outside City Hall, raising awareness that they have been working without a new […]

For unions, opposition to marriage amendment swells from grassroots

Mary Larson Dennis, a social worker and member of AFSCME Local 151, remembers exactly the moment when she decided the freedom to marry wasn’t just a gay-rights issue, but a union issue as well. It was March 2011, and Dennis, then an officer in her union, was making the rounds on a lunch break, talking […]

Vote No Way: Union members rally against voter restriction, anti-marriage amendments

More than 100 people joined a union-backed rally yesterday in Rice Park downtown St. Paul, voicing their support for statewide campaigns to vote “no” on constitutional amendments that would restrict Minnesotans’ freedoms and hurt their quality of life. The state’s largest labor federation, the 300,000-member Minnesota AFL-CIO, opposes both constitutional amendments on the Nov. 6 […]