Work & Money

FirstService drops noncompete agreement for workers as Legislature considers ban

BY: - February 7, 2023

FirstService Residential, the largest property management company in North America, told its employees in Minnesota on Monday it would not enforce the noncompete agreements in its contracts with caretakers, desk attendants and other hourly workers. The announcement came days after a caretaker at a Minneapolis condo building managed by FirstService went public with his story […]

Proposed federal rule would lower credit card late fees

BY: - February 7, 2023

As Americans continue to struggle with high credit card rates, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed a rule to help lessen some of their financial burden — in the form of lower late fees.  The new rule would limit late fees to $8. Currently credit card companies can charge as high as $41 — […]

Inside UnitedHealthcare’s effort to deny coverage to chronically ill patient

BY: , and - February 3, 2023

This story was originally published by ProPublica In May 2021, a nurse at UnitedHealthcare called a colleague to share some welcome news about a problem the two had been grappling with for weeks. United provided the health insurance plan for students at Penn State University. It was a large and potentially lucrative account: lots of […]

FirstService caretaker says he and wife were fired for union activity, wage theft lawsuit

BY: - February 2, 2023

Kevin Borowske and his wife were fired recently by FirstService Residential after a history of organizing workers for fair pay and a union. He led a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Minnesota caretakers at FirstService — the largest property management company in North America —for wage theft and won a $225,000 settlement (before attorney fees) […]

States criticized for spending federal relief funds on tax cuts, prisons

BY: - February 2, 2023

As states plan how they’ll spend the $25 billion remaining in federal COVID relief funds, some also are facing criticism and renewed scrutiny over how they allocated money already received from the American Rescue Plan Act. Of the $198 billion authorized by Congress in 2021, $173 billion already has been appropriated by states, the District […]

U.S. House panel probes extent of fraud in federal COVID-19 relief programs

BY: - February 1, 2023

WASHINGTON — From 2020 to 2022, a group of Minnesotans pretended to be serving meals to low-income children, all the while filing for reimbursement under a federal COVID-19 relief program aimed to buoy child nutrition as schools and childcare centers closed.  In all, the schemers defrauded the government of $250 million. Three defendants pleaded guilty […]

Billions in federal farm payments flow to a select group of producers, report shows

BY: - February 1, 2023

WASHINGTON — The top 10% of recipients of federal farm payments raked in more than 79% of total subsidies over the last 25 years — producing billions of dollars for a relatively small group of U.S. producers, according to a new analysis of federal data from an environmental group. In total, the federal government paid […]

DFL legislators advance bill to limit interest rates on payday loans

BY: - January 25, 2023

House legislators on Wednesday advanced a bill to limit sky-high interest rates on payday loans, which advocates say often trap borrowers into a cycle of debt.  “These lenders make it their mission to target people who don’t have access to a bank account — or who don’t have access to a traditional loan — and […]

Biden, Democrats to U.S. House Republicans: Show us your debt limit plan

BY: - January 24, 2023

WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders huddled with President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday, ahead of what will be a tumultuous few months, with lawmakers sharply divided on the debt limit and short on time.  “I have no intention of letting the Republicans wreck our economy, nor does anybody around this table,” Biden said […]

Trade union confronts high rates of suicide and addiction in construction with free treatment

BY: - January 24, 2023

Construction and mining workers are more likely to die by suicide or of an opioid overdose than workers in any other profession, yet mental health treatment in those male-dominated industries is scarce and often stigmatized. A Minnesota trade union is confronting the problem with a trailblazing program that provides free mental health and chemical dependency […]

DFL Legislature moving quickly on a range of issues three weeks into session

BY: - January 20, 2023

The DFL-controlled House passed a bill Thursday codifying the right to an abortion into law. It now moves to the Senate. That’s just one policy area where the DFL is moving fast. Some other big bills that moved forward this week: Bill requiring the state’s utilities to generate 100% of electricity from carbon-free sources by […]

U.S. hits debt limit and Treasury Department begins ‘extraordinary measures’

BY: - January 19, 2023

WASHINGTON — The nation reached its debt limit Thursday, beginning the uncertain process known as extraordinary measures, in which the U.S. Treasury Department uses accounting maneuvers to avoid defaulting on the debt.  The often-used practice is intended to give the Republican House, Democratic Senate and Biden administration time to negotiate a bipartisan agreement to raise […]