On Sunday and Monday local think-tank Minnesota 2020 released their annual Buy Local report. The report highlighted questions that shoppers should ask themselves when deciding where to spend their money, including whether an establishment pays at least $9.50 an hour and provides benefits to their workers. The report was released at various small businesses around the state that were lifted up as doing right by their employees.
Group urges holiday buyers to shop local
Twin Cities Daily Planet
Made in Minnesota 2013: Fair retail wages strengthen local economies
Business Owners Ask Minnesotans to Shop Locally During Holidays
Fox 21 Duluth
Minnesota 2020: Shopping Local Can Help Raise Wage
MN Group To Black Friday Shoppers: Visit Retailers Who Pay Living Wage
WDIO ABC Duluth
Minn. Think Tank: Do Your Holiday Shopping Locally
On Monday workers from the Brooklyn Center Walmart were joined by Representative Keith Ellison as they walked off the job for a one-day ULP strike. The associates were joined by Rep. Ellison and faith leaders as they told their manager that they were speaking out for fair wages and the ability to express concerns without the fear of retaliation. Strikers spoke outside the store surrounded by community supporters who picketed to highlight the low wages at Walmart.
Walmart Workers In Brooklyn Center Walk Out, Protest Low Wages
Brooklyn Center Walmart Workers Demand Higher Wages, Walk Off Job
Twin Cities Daily Planet (repost from St. Paul Union Advocate)
Walmart workers go on strike in Brooklyn Center, kick off week of action for better wages
Grand Forks Herald
Higher-wage actions in Minnesota this week
Brooklyn Center Walmart workers walk out (WCCO Video)
Teamster Nation Blog
Walmart CEO quits as more workers strike in Miami, St. Paul
Wave of Black Friday Strikes Kicks Off as Walmart CEO Steps Down
Teamster Nation Blog
What real people really say about Walmart
Wal-Mart’s new controversy: Taps head of scandal-ridden division as new CEO
Christian Science Monitor
Wal-Mart announces new CEO. Protesting employees hope for change (Mention “Minneapolis” strike)
St. Paul Union Advocate
Bouyed by prayers, workers return to Brooklyn Center Walmart after one-day strike
Wave of Black Friday Strikes Kicks Off As Walmart CEO Steps Down (reprint from Common Cause)
Video: Walmart Workers Walk Out
Clergy stand in solidarity with striking Walmart worker, call for end to poverty wages
The recently formed Greater Minnesota Worker Center highlighted their growing strength by rallying in protest outside of Work Connection, a St. Cloud temp agency. The agency was highlighted, along with other temp agencies in the area, for their poor treatment of workers. Workers from the Greater Minnesota Worker Center and supporters led a delegation into the agency after the protest to call on Work Connection to treat their workers with respect.
St. Cloud Times
Protesters target St. Cloud temp agency office
Trying to Make a Better Life
Area activists protest for workers rights in front of work connection Tuesday
Greater Minnesota Worker Center rallies against unfair hiring practices
Airport workers who are paid poverty wages despite doing important jobs like transporting seniors and passengers with disabilities and cleaning planes came together Wednesday in an effort to Bring Dignity Back to MSP. The workers, looking to organize with SEIU Local 26, held a press conference with Representative Keith Ellison and other supporters before silently marching through the terminal with signs calling to end poverty wages and ending the event with a protest outside of the terminal, all on the busiest travel day of the year.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Workers Protest for Higher Wages
Kare 11 (NBC)
Hundreds of airport workers protest low wages on high travel day
WCCO (CBS) / Yahoo News
MSP Airport Workers Protest, Call For Wage Increases
St. Paul Union Advocate
At MSP Airport, workers use heavy travel day to rally for better wages
MSP airport workers rally for higher wages
Black Friday began at 5:30 a.m. as retail cleaning workers employed by contractors to clean stores like Target went on an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike. Cleaners from over 40 stores in the Twin Cities area, organizing with the worker center Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), walked off the job and picketed with allies in front of Target’s flagship downtown Minneapolis store. The strike came after calling on the cleaning companies to guarantee fair wages and the right to organize without fear of retaliation and not getting a response.
After the CTUL picket line in Minneapolis ended, worker and allies from all of the week’s campaigns joined together in St. Paul for a march to end poverty wages. Hundreds marched by Target and Walmart before 26 Minnesotans participated in non-violent civil disobedience to highlight the urgency of giving workers a raise and ending poverty wages in Minnesota.
St. Cloud Times (AP Wire Story used around the state/country)
26 arrested as low-wage workers march in St. Paul
26 arrested in St. Paul protest over low wages
Kare (NBC) 11
Hundreds march to protest poverty wages
Cleaning Workers Walk Out In Black Friday Protest
Minnesota Public Radio
Workers march University Ave. in St. Paul to protest low wages; 26 arrested
St. Paul: 26 arrested in Black Friday protests over low retail wages
KSTP 5 (ABC)
26 Arrested as Workers Continue to Call for Better Wages in St. Paul, Minneapolis
Fight For Living Wages Ends In 26 Black Friday Arrests in St Paul
Sheila Regan/Bill Sorem
Call to end poverty wages rings out from Black Friday protests in Twin Cities
Black Friday protests in Twin Cities show growing support for better wages
Duluth News Tribune
Protest with pizza: Activists target Walmart’s wages
Protesters expected near St. Paul shopping district
Wal-Mart arrests could fuel “a new political movement of the disenfranchised,” Grayson tells Nov. 29
Pierce County Herald
MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Protests for fair wages take place in St. Paul Friday
Low-wage workers march in St. Paul
New report shows taxpayers picking up $7 billion-per-year tab for low-wage fast-food jobs
Labor, faith and community groups gathered at Minneapolis Wendy’s to highlight high public costs of low wages
Minneapolis, Minn. (October 15, 2013) — Community members gathered at a Minneapolis Wendy’s restaurant to bring attention to a new report by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley showing that the fast-food industry costs American taxpayers nearly $7 billion per year because their jobs pay so little. The report found that 52 percent of fast food workers are forced to enroll their families in public assistance programs because of their low wages.
“Instead of subsidizing poverty wages at corporations like Wendy’s and McDonald’s to the tune of $7 billion per year, we should be investing that money in public programs like K-12 education and healthcare,” said SEIU Local 284 Executive Director Carol Neiters. “These corporations bring in billions of dollars of profits each year, yet they pay their workers so little, forcing their workers to rely on government assistance.”
Fast-food is a $200-billion-a-year industry, yet the median wage for core front-line workers at fast-food restaurants nationally is $8.69 an hour. Only 13 percent of the jobs provide health benefits, compared to 59 percent of workers as a whole. The researchers said families of frontline fast-food workers are enrolled in public programs at more than twice the rate of the overall workforce.
“This report highlights that Minnesotans working in fast-food jobs can work full time and still not have enough money to provide for their families,” said The Reverend Grant Stevenson, clergy leader with ISAIAH. “It is wrong that these fast-food companies are raking in billions in profits while their workers are more likely to live in or near poverty and be in need of government assistance than workers in any other industry.”
Marc Doussard, one of the report’s coauthors and an assistant professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said the report also helps dispel the myth of fast-food workers as largely untrained teenagers.
“More than two-thirds of core frontline fast-food workers across the country are over the age of 20, and 68 percent are the main wage- earners in their families,” Doussard said. “And more than a quarter of Americans working in fast-food restaurants are parents, raising at least one child.”
The researchers found that the fast-food industry’s low wages and meager benefits, often accompanied by part-time hours, combine to create substantial public assistance needs, including:
Read the Fast Food, Poverty Wages report HERE.
Minnesotans for a Fair Economy
Minnesotans for a Fair Economy is a coalition of labor, community and faith organizations that are fighting for an economy that works for all of us.
Taking part in a national day of action on the four year anniversary of the last national minimum wage increase, workers and allies rally and deliver letters demanding fair wages
Minneapolis (July 24, 2013) — At a rally over the lunch hour, workers and allies from faith, labor and community groups came together at the Quarry Shopping Center in Minneapolis as part of a national day of action to call for a raise for low-wage workers living in poverty. The rally came on the fourth anniversary of the last increase in the federal minimum wage and on the day President Obama stated in a policy speech that “we need to raise the minimum wage because it’s lower right now than it was when Ronald Reagan took office.”
The event was led by workers who are part of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL), a Twin Cities worker center. A delegation led by workers who are employed by sub-contractors to clean Target and Home Depot delivered letters informing the corporations about the wages and working conditions faced by janitors who work for contracted companies cleaning their stores. Workers are calling on their companies to give an immediate raise to lift workers and their families out of poverty and to give a boost to the local economy.
“I am a single mother with four children. $8 an hour is not enough to survive on – we have to share a trailer with other families to be able to afford rent,” said Maricela Flores, CTUL member and Carlson Building Maintenance employee who cleans a Target store. “As retail janitors we are surrounded by food and clothes every evening at work, yet we cannot afford to provide for our own families. I am organizing for fair wages.”
A report recently released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that a two-parent, two-child family would need to make $73,526 a year for a decent yet modest living in Minneapolis. The current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, or $15,080 per year. According to the National Employment Law Project 2012 report “Big Business, Corporate Profits, and the Minimum Wage,” the 50 largest low-wage employers, 75% are earning more revenue now than they were before the recession, while the Federal minimum wage remains stuck at 2009 levels.
After the rally and delegations at Target and Home Depot in Minneapolis, workers traveled to Eurest Services Cleaning in Edina, where they delivered a letter to their employer outlining their ongoing demands around fair wages and respect in the workplace. Cleaning workers went on a one-day Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) strike in February and a two-day ULP strike in June to ensure their right to organize without fear of retaliation, joining a nationwide movement of low-wage workers taking similar actions in Seattle, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, New York City and Milwaukee.
“I work for Eurest Services cleaning a Home Depot,” said Luciano Balbuena. “I have cleaned the same store for three years, and I still only earn $8.50 per hour. We work hard, and we deserve fair wages – that is why we are organizing!”
Wednesday’s event was part of a national day of action calling on corporations and politicians to raise wages for millions of the country’s lowest-paid workers. Thousands rallied in 40 cities across the country.