MN AFL-CIO Labor Update

February 1, 2016 Holding steady in Minnesota, union density plunges in Right-to-Work WisconsinUnion members made up 14.2 percent of Minnesota’s wage-earning and salaried workforce last year, a membership rate unchanged from 2014, according to an annual report released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  A similar trend played out nationwide, as the union membership rate held steady at 11.1 percent of the U.S. workforce.  Read more from the Union Advocate.Trades build ice designs for Winter CarnivalMembers of several Building Trades unions have built an ice castle in St. Paul’s Rice Park for the Winter Carnival. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it an “ice design,” said Tom McCarthy, president of the St Paul Building Trades.  "That’s what happens when the grand plan for an Ice Castle has to be scaled back due to, well, a lack of ice," he said.  The recent warm weather prevented Lake Phalen from freezing to the proper specifications needed for a large ice harvest. The original plan called for 1,500 blocks, 40 inches by 20 inches by 10 inches, each weighing 270 pounds. Instead, 400 blocks had to be purchased from from a provider in Shakopee.  Read more at Workday Minnesota.NLRB Judge Rules Walmart Wrongly Fired StrikersAn administrative law judge at the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Walmart retaliated against workers for participating in strikes. Walmart claimed that the workers' actions were not protected under the National Labor Relations Act and that it was legitimate to fire the employees for violating the company's attendance policy. Judge Geoffrey Carter ruled against Walmart.  The ruling says that Walmart must reinstate 16 former employees with back pay and must hold meetings in 29 stores to inform workers of their right to strike and that strikes are protected under the NLRA.  Read more.With Gov. Snyder Failing to Fix the Problem, Working People Step Up in Flint Water CrisisMichigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has been rightly criticized for how he has handled the water crisis in Flint. In his State of the State speech earlier this month, he had a chance to take the crisis head on and failed to do so. Working people, on the other hand, are stepping up where Snyder has failed.  Read more.

Upcoming Events

SATURDAY: Solidarity Rally with Allina NursesNurses employed by Allina Health will rally Saturday as they go into contract negotiations.  Other nurses and supporters are expected to participate in the solidarity rally that will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Ramada Plaza, 330 Industrial Boulevard, Minneapolis. The rally is organized by the Minnesota Nurses Association.  Learn more at Workday Minnesota.February 9: Worker Voice Regional Summit with US Secretary of Labor Tom Perez & Local LeadersJoin United States Secretary of Labor Perez and local leaders for the first Regional Worker Voice Summit. Regional Summits are focused on bringing together seasoned and emerging leaders from across the country who are lifting up workers’ voices to be active participants in this conversation.  Learn more and RSVP.February 11 & 12: AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice coming to MinneapolisThe Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice, established by the national AFL-CIO, will be coming to Minneapolis Friday, February 12 as part of an eight-city tour around the nation.  The Commission will take testimony from rank and file union members and meet with leaders of Minnesota unions.  In addition, in conjunction with the Commission’s visit, the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation will host a “Town Hall Dinner” Thursday, February 11 to seek broader input from union members and from community members.  Learn more & RSVP.February 13: Carlton County Central Labor Body’s 1st Annual Community Sledding PartyWHEN: Saturday, February 13, 1pm-3pmWHERE: Pinehurst Sledding Hill, CloquetFree hot cocoa, coffee, and cookies provided! A limited amount of sleds/tubes will be available to share! Call Tamara Jones, President, at 218-391-2733 or Jason Metsa, Field Director, at 218-290-1527 with questions.Feb. 16 - (9:30 AM) MN AFL-CIO General Board meeting MNA headquarters, 345 Randolph Ave., St. Paul