Posts Tagged ‘Unions’

If you want to do a compare and contrast about card check and the secret ballot method of organizing a union in the workplace, Workday Minnesota’s recent post, Videos about the Employee Free Choice Act, offers two informative videos produced by the University of Minnesota Labor Education Service.


The first one shows a successful voluntary card check while the second is a grim reminder of how poorly the present system works.






There has been much hysteria about the Employee Free Choice Act and many in the main stream media have been too lazy to find out what works and what doesn’t work. Or, maybe they just don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them.


Corporate America has amassed a huge war chest to campaign against the Employee Free Choice Act. In an effort to get the truth out about this critical legislation the AFL-CIO has established the Turn Around America Fund. Please consider a contribution today. Help bring prosperity to all of America.



Peace & solidarity,



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Sign the petition here


Peace & solidarity,


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At least at Corner House Comments.

The next seven weeks will see me working full time on GOTV (get out the vote) efforts on behalf of Labor in Minnesota. In the interest of disclosure, this is a paid position. I have taken a leave of absence from my regular Union (UFCW)  job as a forklift operator at JBS Swift in Worthington.

My posts may be infrequent (nothing new there), and of course the opinions expressed by me (CHC) are mine and do not represent the official views of the AFL-CIO or Change To Win organizations. I do not get paid to maintain this blog.

Peace & solidarity,


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Have you enjoyed your day off?  Thank a union brother or sister.





Peace & solidarity


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Monday, April 28, workers in Minnesota and across the United States will observe Workers Memorial Day. The day was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the passage of legislation establishing OSHA. Similar observances are held in Cananda and by international trade unionists. The Minnesota AFL-CIO has issued the following press release:


Minnesotans observe Workers Memorial Day, Monday, April 28


As Minnesotans prepare to honor workers who were killed on the job, the national AFL-CIO today released a report saying that US work places are becoming increasingly dangerous. According to the report, 5,840 US workers, 78 of them Minnesotans, died from workplace injuries in 2006.


Ceremonies will be held in Monday in Duluth, Minneapolis, Roseville and Apple Valley to honor Minnesota workers who were killed on the job in 2007.



  • Duluth7-9 AM Breakfast followed by a 9:15 AM  Ceremony of Remembrance
    both at the Duluth Labor Temple—sponsored by the Duluth Central Labor Body


  • MinneapolisNoon--Ceremony of Remembrance at Bohemian Flats Park at 22ndAve. S. at West River Rd., Mpls.—sponsored by the Minneapolis & St. Paul Building Trades Councils


  • Roseville2 PM—Ceremony of Remembrance– MnDOT Waters Edge Building (1500 W Co Rd B2 in Roseville)—sponsored by the MnDOT Metro District
  • Apple Valley—6 PM—Lebanon Cemetery of Apple Valley—sponsored by the Southern Dakota Labor Alliance

Workers Memorial Day has been observed each year since Congress passed the Occupational Safety & Health Act in 1971. This week, the AFL-CIO released the 17th edition of the annual report, Death on the Job: The toll of neglect. The report includes national and state-by-state profiles on worker safety and health in the United States.

KEYC television in Mankato has this video of union members observing Workers Memorial Day  on Friday. 1st CD Congressman Tim Walz  was also there to honor the dead and support the living..

Fortunately for workers in Minnesota we have a state OSHA agency. Many states do not and must rely on the federal agency to do inspections and investigations. From my experience, the presence of Minnesota OSHA has saved lives and reduced work-related injuries and illnesses.

WorkdayMinnesota has a poignant story, Crossing one bridge at a time, by Michael Kuchta. This report relates the experience of Rob Baily, a union carpenter, who was working on  the I35 bridge prior to the collapse. He lost a union brother andothers were injured. Baily still has a hard time dealing with the events of that day, but is now working on the construction of the new bridge.

As we observe this day we remember the fallen workers and the sick and injured workers

Mother Jones said it best:

Mourn for the dead, fight like hell for the living.

Peace & solidarity,


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As Martin Luther King once said: ” The time is always right to do what is right.” Nowhere is this more true than in the office of the Attorney General. 

Those words, AG Swanson, are from your inaugural remarks upon taking office in January 2006 2007.

You talked about Clarence Darrow:

… a famous lawyer from the last century who used the law to fight for the rights of labor and people without clout. Darrow once said that: “As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.”

You also had this to say:

My mission is for the Attorney General’s Office to fight for the rights of everyday people, and especially those without a voice.In my Attorney General’s Office, no one will be so powerful they are above the law or so powerless they are beneath its protection.

We will be attentive and responsive to the needs of our citizens, and we will never forget that it’s the people of Minnesota who pay our salaries and whom we serve.

In your remarks you ask the question, “What makes a good Attorney General?”, and you offer some answers:

An Attorney General should put the public interest above all else.

An Attorney General should help everyday people get a fair shake when the deck is stacked against them by those who hold the cards.

An Attorney General should make sure that everyone, no matter who they are or who they know–or who they don’t know–has an Attorney General on their side.

Pretty good speech Ms Swanson but is that all it was? A bunch of words that have no real meaning to you? Maybe you should read it again and then ask these questions:

Would a good Attorney General hold captive audience meetings to coerce employees into opposing the union?

Would a good Attorney General use fear and intimidation to run the office?

Would a good Attorney General let over 50 professionals from the office leave and not care?

Would a good Attorney General ask the employees to sign a loyalty pledge?

Would a good Attorney General fire or reassign employees who are involved in the union organizing effort?

Attorney General Swanson, please reread the section of your inaugural remarks about Clarence Darrow. You know, the part about a famous lawyer who uses the law to fight for the rights of labor.

Step out of the way. Respect the will of your employees. Do your job of protecting the rights of all of the citizens of Minnesota, including your staff.

 Martin Luther King said, “The time is always right to do what is right.” Heed his advice.

Peace & solidarity?


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The effort to unionize the staff at the Minnesota AG’s office has been going on for some time now but this last week has seen a resurgence in news about the organizing drive and Attorney General Lori Swanson’s efforts to quash it.

The office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is riven by fear, politicization, low morale, intimidation tactics and constant turnover, which led to a unionization drive and has now been further aggravated by the management’s reaction to the effort.

That is the opening paragraph from Eric Black at MinnPost.com in his recent column, Staffers detail climate of stress, politicization in AG’s office.

MPR also covers the story and has audio while Workday Minnesota reports: Organizing in Attorney Generals office garners international attention.  LabourStart.org has made the unionizing effort one of its current campaigns.

The organizers at the AG’s office has a blog where they post updates at: AG Organizing Update

AFSCME Council 5 posted this on their website:

Call Attorney General Lori Swanson immediately at 651-296-6196.  Tell her to stop union busting and recognize the union chosen by her attorneys.Also, call the legislators who appropriate funds for the Attorney General’s Office: Senator Don Betzold (651-296-2556) and Representative Phyllis Kahn (651-296-4257).  Tell them not to fund the Attorney General’s union-busting activity.  

 You can also participate by going to LabourStart and send an email to AG Lori Swanson.

Yours truly also has some comments in: A Message to Attorney General Lori Swanson

Peace & solidarity, CHC  

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