Bernie Hesse to Receive Wellstone Award

Bernie Hesse, director of Special Projects, Legislative and Political Action for the United Food and Commercial Workers (link is external), and Kris Fredson, political director for the Minnesota AFL-CIO (link is external), will be honored at the 4th Annual Humphrey-Mondale Dinner, at the Hilton Minneapolis.The award is named for the late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone, who became known during his tenure as Minnesota’s “labor senator.”Hesse was involved with unions at an early age, working as an electroplater in a union shop organized by the United Electrical and Radio Workers of America.After earning a degree in sociology from the University of St. Thomas, Hesse “bounced around” before starting to work in grocery stores and landing on a path that would lead him to be one of the most respected union leaders in Minnesota.“I had worked in union shops before and the more I got into the work the more I wanted to learn about unions, what we were doing, how we could advance our contracts, organizing and a number of other things,” Hesse said.In the 1980s a lot of issues were popping up. For example, the compression of the meatpacking industry led to strikes and layoffs and trade policy was rearing its ugly head, Hesse said. For unions who had members in manufacturing and food processing, it ultimately led to their involvement with workers from other countries and immigration issues.Click here to read entire Workday Minnesota article.