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 […]

Poised to strike this weekend, AT&T wireless workers seek support on picket line

Some 21,000 AT&T wireless workers in 36 states – including about 2,000 in Minnesota – plan to strike this weekend, a show of frustration over the company’s failure to negotiate a new contract that protects good, family-supporting jobs. The strike is set to begin at 2 p.m. tomorrow unless AT&T and the Communications Workers of America, which […]

Jeff Couillard: What if retail workers took a two-week break – starting on Black Friday?

It’s that time of year when retail executives get excited about the kind of record profits they will be raking in from mid-November to the end of the year. Retailers have been pushing out their deals earlier and earlier so consumers have more and more choices to cash in on a “super” deal ahead of […]

Dave Kamper: Missed opportunity 50 years ago offers insight into labor’s current challenges

The Union Advocate recently reported that Local 1189 of the UFCW has rejected a so-called “final offer” in negotiations with the owners of Cub, Rainbow, Lunds & Byerly’s, and other major retail grocers in the East Metro. Notably absent from the negotiations, of course, are two of the largest grocery retailers in the Metro, Wal-Mart […]

East Metro grocery workers reject ‘final offer,’ urge continued negotiations

In a nearly unanimous vote yesterday, East Metro grocery workers rejected a hastily crafted “final offer” from their employers. About 3,700 members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189 began contract negotiations in late February with several St. Paul-area retail grocers, including Cub Foods, Rainbow, Jerry’s Foods, Lunds & Byerlys, Kowalski’s Markets, Festival Foods, […]

Workers OK first contract, making Wedge first union co-op in Minnesota

Workers at the Wedge voted Tuesday to ratify their first union contract, making the Minneapolis grocer the state’s first unionized co-op. Wedge Community Co-op workers voted last November to join United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189, seeking higher wages, an equitable process for dealing with management and a voice in decisions that affect the co-op’s […]

Fight for $15 strikes: Legal, protected, effective

  From fast food to retail, workers in low-wage jobs around the country, including Minnesota, are increasingly staging short-term, high-profile strikes to advance their movements for higher wages and a voice on the job. Walking off the job in protest is a costly, risky tactic to employ – even for one day. In addition to […]

Striking workers from Twin Cities join protests outside Walmart shareholder meeting

Sam Walton famously required that Walmart employees flash a smile and offer a greeting to anyone coming within 10 feet of their path. Moronica Owens this week discovered a few exceptions to the “10-foot rule” at Walmart’s annual shareholder meetings in Fayetteville, Ark. “I’m a Walmart associate; I know the 10-foot rule,” Owens said. “But […]

Twin Cities workers join nationwide Walmart strike

BROOKLYN CENTER – Walmart associates from Apple Valley and Brooklyn Center walked off the job today, joining another nationwide wave of strikes and demonstrations targeting the world’s largest retailer for its low pay and retaliation against workers looking to organize. Similar strikes took place today in 20 other U.S. cities, as members of the workers’ […]

Walmart workers go on strike in Brooklyn Center, kick off week of action for better wages

The nationwide wave of Walmart strikes hit Minnesota this morning, when three women who work at the Brooklyn Center store informed management they were going on an unfair-labor-practices strike. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison and Rev. Doug Mork of nearby Cross of Glory Lutheran Church accompanied the workers into the store, and dozens of supporters from […]