Tag Archives: worker centers

Greater Minnesota Worker Center Statement on DACA

Today the Trump administration announced it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 6 months unless Congress comes forward with a legislative solution. This decision affects our families, our friends, our neighbors and the entire community. It is the wrong decision and is morally repulsive. Immigrants have been and will continue to be a valuable and integral part of our community and we will work to ensure their legal and human rights are respected and protected. Congress must act to pass the Dream Act and to pass an immigration reform bill. We expect no less and will hold our elected officials accountable.

Greater Minnesota Worker Center 3rd Annual Gala

 

The Greater Minnesota Worker Center 3rd Annual Fundraising Gala

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Please join us for the opportunity to learn more about our GMWC efforts, trainings, growth and development of leaders in the Poultry, Super America and Democracy 2050 campaigns. Meet the new Executive Director, staff, board of directors, and the members of GMWC. There will be dinner, dancing, fun, and entertainment! We will also highlight workers from the GMWC campaigns and they will share their stories.

Theme: Multi-Cultural Night (so please feel free to come in cultural dress).

Dinner will be food from around the globe

Time: Program will begin promptly at 6 pm

Location: St Cloud State University Atwood Memorial Center – Cascade Room

720 4th Avenue South, St. Cloud, MN 56303

 

Ticket and sponsorship Levels*

Individual tickets $25

Friend $150 -At the Friend level guest will receive up to two seats and be seated at a reserved table hosted by a GMWC member.

Bronze $300-At the Bronze level guest will receive up to 5 seats and be seated at a reserved table hosted by a GMWC member. Guest will also receive recognition in the program.

Silver $500-At the Silver level guest will receive up to 10 seats and be seated at a reserved table hosted by a GMWC member, receive recognition in our program, be highlighted in our slideshow, and receive an honorary plaque from GMWC.

Gold $1000-At the Gold level guest will receive up to 20 seats and be seated at a reserved table hosted by a GMWC member, receive recognition in our program, be highlighted in our slideshow, and receive an honorary plaque from GMWC. Guest/Organization name with logo and photo will be added to GMWC Wall of Worker Justice Champions in our office.

Buy tickets through EventBrite 

or contact one of our organizers.

We appreciate your support that allows us to continue our work for social and economic justice.

* Seats can be donated to workers who cannot afford to purchase tickets.

Greater MInnesota Worker Center 3rd Annual Gala

Workers walk out at Sauk Rapids Coleman Co. facility.

by GMWC staff:

Something remarkable happened this week in Sauk Rapids. An entire shift of workers walked out of Coleman Co. on Monday,  May 15th. Immediately after they contacted GMWC to update us on what has happened.

The workers have had growing concerns for the past six months. This concern came from an HR personnel who the workers alleged was overstepping her boundaries by coming to the production line to harass workers by pulling their clothes, pushing them physically, following them to the restrooms or threatening to fire workers who voiced their concerns. Some workers have been fired under questionable circumstances as well.

A couple of times before the walkout, workers have shared with us their concerns and we have been monitoring the plant while providing support to workers.

Interestingly, workers have consistently asked the unbecoming behavior to stop and when it didn’t have asked to meet with the senior management which has been stonewalled apparently by the power structures at the plant level.

On Monday morning some of the worker leaders came to GMWC’s office to seek counsel and GMWC  provided appropriate advice.

Around 4 pm workers walked out united because the plant management has not fulfilled their part of the ‘agreement’ to take the workers’ concerns up the chain of the command.

GMWC board members and staff got involved, conducted broad consultations with community leaders to build support for workers and have invited worker leaders to our office to map their concerns.

GMWC then drafted an issue memo that spoke to the workers’ concerns and has provided copies to the senior management at Coleman Co. including the VP and additional copies to the workers and their leaders. Workers have also presented the issue memo to the senior plant management at a meeting on Tuesday.

In the end, the situation has been resolved to the satisfaction of the workers as the Coleman Co. senior management took full responsibility for the improper behavior of the HR Manager. The senior management has also promised to fully address other concerns, including unfair firing, threats of firing workers coming from other employees, and evident prejudicial treatment workers have been concerned about for over the six months.

Management has promised to look into the files of workers who have been fired in the past six months and to bring back workers who have been unfairly fired.

GMWC exists to stand in solidarity with workers in their struggle for improved workplace conditions and we are deeply encouraged by the faith they placed in our organization by reaching out to us with their concerns.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has additional information on your legal rights as workers , including concerted action.  You can also add an app to your smartphone here.

Fighting for Stronger Laws against Wage Theft

Fighting for Stronger Laws against Wage Theft

By: Emily Herne

April 27, 2017

Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith

Organizers from the Greater Minnesota Worker Center, Gladys Gutierrez, Taunita Jones, and intern Emily Herne along with worker Yonina Phipps attended and participated in a wage theft panel moderated by Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith Wednesday, April 26th 2017 .

 

This panel, hosted by the Minnesota Labor Education Service at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, gathered five workers in a variety of industries that engaged the audience with their stories of wage theft and the frequency at which it occurs. These panelists were also joined by organizers from GMWC and CTUL and  Minnesota House Representative Tim Mahoney and Senator Dan Schoen. These legislators are authors of HF 1391 and SF 1329, the bill proposed to prevent wage theft.

Gutierrez mentioned the specific strategies that employers are taking to intentionally decrease the time workers can be clocked in. This includes the five minutes that poultry workers are unable to clock in until all of their gear is on. The extra 10-15 minutes a day that these workers are not being paid for adds up to nearly an hour a week. For many workers on the panel and in the audience, the seemingly small amount of work that is not being compensated affected their livelihood.

Lt. Governor Tina Smith and Yonina Phipps

Phipps documented a story from the 2016-17 New Year’s Eve where she was requested to work for time and a half, leaving her seven children at home. When she did not receive her pay for this night in the next check, the hoops she had to jump were complex and ongoing. As a single mother that deals with mental illness, this extra work to get compensation that she was promised is unacceptable. Two months later she finally received a check with the pay for the night, but not time and a half, which is the only reason she sacrificed time with her family that holiday.

Representative Tim Mahoney addressed the proposed legislation that is aiming to protect workers from wage theft. The changes include enforcing an immediate citation to employers for instances of wage theft under $1000 instead of processing it through court. The legislators are asking for $1 million to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to hire 5 new investigators. If this bill passes it will also change wage theft from a petty misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor that allows for a harsher punishment and the possibility of incarceration.

Although the research is out there exposing wage theft as a common and serious issue, the enforcement of penalizing wage theft has been limited. If this legislation is put through the Minnesota House and Senate, it would be a great step towards fair working practices for employees.

 

An article from Workday Minnesota features a picture of GMWC affiliate worker Phipps with Lieutenant governor Tina Smith and mentions Gutierrez speaking on the panel at :

Roundtable exposes extent of wage theft