Category Archives: work

Lessons from Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

an-injury-to-one-vertYesterday, July 31, was Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. Serena Williams wrote an eloquent column for Fortune, explaining just what that means:

“I’d like to acknowledge the many realities black women face every day. To recognize that women of color have to work—on average—eight months longer to earn the same as their male counterparts do in one year. To bring attention to the fact that black women earn 17% less than their white female counterparts and that black women are paid 63% of the dollar men are paid. Even black women who have earned graduate degrees get paid less at every level. This is as true in inner cities as it is in Silicon Valley.”

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Filed under gender, race, work

Meanwhile in Minnesota – Three issues and ideas for action

mct state capitol

While Washington hold center stage, Minnesota Republicans are trying to tie the hands of local governments, impose crippling costs on free speech and protest, and politicize redistricting in 2020. That makes it time to focus on St. Paul and start calling and contacting state legislators. Minnesota have already compromised on premium relief for health insurance. They might be more open to hearing voices of reason than their counterparts in Congress. Continue reading

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Filed under elections, organizing, work

Cheating the caregivers

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You might think that kindness and care for people who are elderly or disabled should be rewarded. Not in this state. Not in this country. Instead, the low-paid personal care attendants who serve on the front lines of home health care face the awful choice of neglecting the  people they care for or working without pay. Continue reading

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In sickness and in health: St. Paul stories


Fatuma Ali told about her old job, running a ride at the Mall of America. “I know what it’s like not to be able to leave the job,” she said. One day she was sick. “I had to stay at my ride for five hours, while being sick in the garbage can every 30 minutes,” she recalled. She had no sick time. If she had left her job, she said, she would have been fired. Continue reading

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In sickness and in health: Working in Minnesota

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[CORRECTED 6/21/2016] Sick pay for sick days, a nurse’s strike, and the desperate situation of home health care aides and the people they care for: three stories about workers in Minnesota highlight both the positive power of organizing and the need for more support for workers. Continue reading

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Minnesota Jim Crow confirmed by Met Council analysis

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Diving Deeper: Understanding Disparities between Black and White Residents in the Twin Cities Region (Met Council), p. 7

A new report from the Met Council takes a deep dive into statistics, juggling 10 different demographic factors (e.g. age, education, immigration) to isolate one variable: race. The report finds that “underlying demographic differences cannot explain away our region’s disparities in employment, income, and homeownership between Black and White residents.” One factor can explain the differences: continuing institutional and structural racism, which is maintained and supported by conscious and unconscious personal racism. Continue reading


Filed under housing, human rights, race, work

What’s wrong with TPP — what you can do NOW to stop it



Photo by Wendy Colucci of the CNY Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, republished under Creative Commons license.

The United States signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in February, but there’s still time to stop the deal that some are calling “NAFTA on steroids” before it becomes law. Signing is only one step: the next step is passage by Congress. In this election year, you can contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives to say a resounding NO to TPP. Here are four reasons to stop TPP, and links to contact information for Congress. Continue reading

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Filed under agriculture, environment, food and farming, work

Wage theft in Minnesota

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Steven Suffridge worked nights at a fast food restaurant. Sometimes his supervisors said he had to work straight through the mandatory 30-minute break, but the restaurant still deducted the time from his paycheck. That’s one of the examples of wage theft cited in an investigative series from Workday Minnesota. Other examples come from janitors, health care workers, construction, on-line jobs, and more. Continue reading

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Recycling ride-along in St. Paul

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 6.45.12 PMLike Twins players, Eureka drivers star on trading cards. The back of Kirk Frauenhelm’s card reveals that he’s an avid gardener, has been driving for Eureka since 2010 and has picked up almost 10 million pounds of recycling. That’s an old card, so he’s well over the 10-million-pound mark now. Luckner Clerveus started just last year, and boasts only a little more than a million pounds picked up. Continue reading

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Filed under environment, St. Paul Notes, work

Eureka Recycling: Pro-employee, pro-environment, local and responsible


Sorters at Eureka’s MRF – photo courtesy of Eureka

The Minneapolis Public Works Department has recommended a five-year contract with Eureka Recycling to process all of the city’s recycling. Next, it’s St. Paul’s turn to decide between the local non-profit and the biggest private companies in North America for pick-up and processing. Choosing Eureka makes sense from both economic and environmental perspectives. Continue reading


Filed under environment, St. Paul Notes, work