Work & Money

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

Book excerpt details rise of labor leader who is now Walz education commissioner

BY: - February 25, 2020

Editor’s note: This book excerpt from “Beaten Down, Worked Up” by longtime New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse describes the difficult union negotiations in 2013-2014 between St. Paul Public Schools and teachers, who successfully pushed for smaller class sizes and more support staff in addition to higher wages. Last Friday, St. Paul teachers voted […]

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN)

Rep. Tom Emmer on the rise in Washington and winning friends on Wall Street

BY: - February 13, 2020

WASHINGTON — Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer peered over the shoulders of his fellow GOP lawmakers to get a glimpse of President Donald Trump.  It was May 2018, and the president was signing legislation that scaled back some of the banking regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis. Emmer and other lawmakers who helped push the […]

8,000 Twin Cities janitors and security guards schedule strike vote

BY: - February 7, 2020

Some 8,000 janitors, security guards, window washers and other workers at office buildings in downtown St. Paul, Minneapolis and at the MSP airport will vote Saturday on authorizing a strike.  If approved, Service Employees International Union Local 26 could call a strike at any time as they negotiate seven contracts with 17 employers.  The sticking […]

Farmer harvesting soybeans near Worthington, Minnesota

Danger zone: Work is safer than it used to be, but some jobs are still hazardous

BY: - February 6, 2020

Work-related illness and injuries in Minnesota reached all-time lows in 2018, but experts are concerned about persistently high injury rates in risky industries like construction and agriculture. Workplace injury rates have dropped nationwide in the past several decades because of regulatory and cultural changes. Farmers and construction workers are still at higher risk of being […]

apartment building

271,000 Minnesota households pay more than 30% of their income in rent

BY: - February 5, 2020

Just one in four households that are eligible for rental assistance actually get it. When the state’s three largest housing agencies opened up their waiting lists for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers last summer, they received more than 45,000 applications for just 7,500 spots. That was for a spot on the waiting list, not for […]

Rep. Betty McCollum’s effort to stop Twin Metals mine near Boundary Waters divides fellow Democrats

BY: - February 4, 2020

WASHINGTON — As the Trump administration pushes to allow mining near Minnesota’s iconic Boundary Waters, Rep. Betty McCollum is waging an attempt to thwart the plans. But the Minnesota Democrat lacks broad support from the rest of the state’s congressional delegation. Only two other Minnesota lawmakers have publicly backed the legislation she introduced earlier this […]