Work & Money

Twin Cities janitor dies from COVID-19; union demands PPE and hazard pay

BY: - April 29, 2020

Armando Solis helped secure the biggest pay increases in the history of his union just two months ago. Last week, Solis, who worked as a janitor for 10 years in the U.S. Bank Plaza in downtown Minneapolis, died from COVID-19, leaving behind a wife and two adult sons. He was 55. “Our union is heartbroken […]

Demonstrators shut down Caribou drive-thru demanding worker protections

BY: - April 27, 2020

About three dozen honking cars blocked the drive-thru of a Caribou Coffee in Roseville Monday, calling on the chain to provide more personal protective equipment, sick time and hazard pay for workers. As Gov. Tim Walz’s order closing dine-in restaurants, bars and coffee shops stretches into its seventh week, Caribou workers say they’ve been required […]

steve grove

6,000 unemployment checks are in the mail for gig workers, self-employed

BY: - April 24, 2020

More than 6,000 checks went out this week to Minnesota workers who until now were ineligible for unemployment: beauticians, Uber drivers, restaurant owners and other independent contractors and self-employed workers. “This was something brand new that we had to stand up in a matter of weeks,” said Blake Chaffee, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department […]

When the Legislature allowed restaurants to sell takeout beer, they left out the breweries

BY: - April 24, 2020

Lawmakers agreed to allow restaurants to serve takeout alcohol last week, and the moment brought the warm buzz that often accompanies a second pint of beer. In this case, however, the glow arrived not from a glass of beer but from a rare moment of bipartisan comity at the State Capitol. But there was one […]

More than 2,200 U.S. meat packing employees sick, 17 dead in COVID-19 outbreaks, report says

BY: - April 22, 2020

More than 2,200 people have fallen sick with COVID-19 in at least 48 U.S. meat packing plants, and 17 have died as of Tuesday night, USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found Wednesday.  The comprehensive review of outbreaks in the nation’s meat packing facilities found that Worthington’s JBS pork plant is among […]

JBS pork processing plant in Worthington

Minnesota wants to test all JBS pork packing plant employees after COVID-19 outbreak

BY: - April 21, 2020

Minnesota faces its most serious COVID-19-related crisis yet with the discovery of an outbreak at a JBS pork packing plant in Worthington, the southwestern Minnesota town where a coronavirus outbreak has infected at least 26 workers and some of their family members. State health officials said Monday they want to test all employees at the […]

Minnesota-based Sleep Number will furlough employees

BY: - April 8, 2020

Nearly 40% of employees at Minneapolis-based company Sleep Number will be furloughed, according to an internal email obtained by Minnesota Reformer. Another 30% of employees are working reduced hours. The furloughs are a result of the “financial and operational impact” of the COVID-19 pandemic, the email says. It doesn’t specify how long furloughs will last, […]

Congress preps for another round of coronavirus relief; infrastructure may be next

BY: - April 1, 2020

WASHINGTON — Congress is gearing up for additional COVID-19 response legislation that aims to build on the first three relief packages. The next bill could include huge infrastructure projects, and U.S. House Democrats are pushing to include some of their top priorities that were sliced off the sweeping $2 trillion bill during negotiations with Senate […]

More than 150,000 Minnesota households don’t have broadband access

BY: - March 31, 2020

More than 150,000 Minnesota households don’t have access to high-speed broadband internet, a longstanding disparity that experts say is even more troubling now that residents are asked to stay home from work and school. Temporary fixes like public hotspots and free internet service from certain providers during the COVID-19 outbreak have helped some Minnesotans get online, […]

construction workers

‘Essential’ construction continues on luxury apartments, even during stay-at-home order

BY: - March 30, 2020

Visit nearly any construction site in Minnesota, and you wouldn’t know the state is in its most severe lockdown in history to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Men and women work shoulder-to-shoulder installing siding on luxury apartments, fitting pipes in narrow trenches and lifting walls into place. They cram into lifts, share tools and porta […]


Among the homeless, you’ll find people more like you than you realize

BY: - March 30, 2020

We carelessly attach words to homeless people: panhandler, drunk, lazy bum. At Elim Church and Strong Tower Parish shelters, which have 80 beds in Minneapolis, I tried to come up with more accurate descriptions.  Take a moment, if you would, and see if you can find yourself in these people.  It’s taken a pandemic, but […]

Exclusive: AFSCME Council 5 experiencing financial woes, membership decline, documents reveal

BY: - March 12, 2020

The abrupt departure of two top leaders this past summer were just the beginning of troubles for one of the state’s largest and most powerful public sector unions, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5.  Documents obtained by the Minnesota Reformer show that Julie Blehyl, the recently named executive director of the […]