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Minnesota

Immigrant Communities Mobilize For ‘Drivers License For All’ Bill

Minneapolis, Minnesota - Over 100 immigrants and supporters gathered at the Waite House Community Center on Saturday, January 21 to hear from grassroots leaders in the struggle to win drivers license access for all, and from elected officials that are advancing the bill in the state legislature. The event was organized by the Minnesota Immigrant Movement (MIM), a grassroots organization that’s been fighting for drivers license equality in Minnesota for many years. The Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) was also present and spoke at the event. The event, which was conducted in Spanish, started with an explanation of how the state legislative process works. The drivers license bill needs to pass through several committees in both the state House and Senate, then to a vote of the full House and Senate. After reconciling any differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, it goes to the governor to approve it or veto it.

New Documentary On Late Sixties Civil Unrest Is A ‘Rosetta Stone’ For Decoding The Modern Day Police State

Minneapolis, Minnesota – A new documentary film shines light on the history of the militarization of American police in an era defined by civil unrest, drawing sharp parallels to today. Without mentioning recent events in the entire film, Sierra Pettengill’s new documentary “Riotsville, USA” still invokes striking parallels between the late 1960s and the George Floyd protest uprisings in 2020. The film was produced during 2015-2021, premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2022 and was widely released in September by Magnolia Films; it’s attracted more coverage in lists of top documentaries for the year. [See our editor’s note below for more Unicorn Riot original reporting on domestic military and police training programs.]

Quarry Encampment Faces Eviction In Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Minnesota – With life-threatening cold this winter season, the City of Minneapolis continues to evict encampments, displacing unsheltered people and throwing away their personal belongings, including propane tanks they rely on for warmth. The longstanding Quarry encampment in Northeast Minneapolis is the latest under threat of eviction after being served a notice on Dec. 21 to leave by Dec. 28. In response, Quarry residents and advocates held a press conference on Dec. 27 demanding the authorities not evict the encampment and announcing that community would come to defend the residents. The next day, when the eviction was scheduled to occur, upwards of 100 to 150 encampment defenders showed up to the Quarry over the course of the morning. The city said the eviction was put on hold due to the large activist presence.

Disabled Minnesotans Are Facing A Home Care Crisis

Minnesota - Gail Larson lives in Bloomington, Minnesota, with her fiancé, whom she has been partners with for 20 years. For years, they did not marry due to a federal law that prohibits most married people from working as Medicaid-funded personal care assistants (PCAs) for their spouses.* Her fiancé, Ronald, is a veteran who suffered a traumatic brain injury and has other physical and mental health needs. She describes how caring for a family member is unique because family members never truly clock out, no matter how many hours the state approves them for. “As a PCA, if the client is the person that you live with, it’s all day, no matter how many hours we are given.” The blurred line between spouse and PCA means she works many hours that she is not compensated for, Larson says.

Minneapolis: Battle Against City Plans To Spread Arsenic Contamination

Minneapolis, Minnesota - Roughly 100 East Phillips residents and supporters rallied at the Hennepin County courthouse, December 15, protest the city’s East Phillips demolition plan and long legacy of systemic racism. For generations, East Phillips residents have suffered from multiple sources of concentrated pollution, including toxic deposits of arsenic from a former pesticide factory. When the vacant Roof Depot warehouse came up for sale, the neighborhood developed plans to renovate the building into an urban farm and community hub. But, despite proclamations of environmental justice, the city of Minneapolis plans to demolish the building - exposing a bed of untreated, arsenic-laden soil underneath - and replace it with a public works truck yard, where 888 city vehicles would further concentrate toxic fumes in one of the city’s most polluted neighborhoods.

Minneapolis March Says ‘No To US Wars’

Minneapolis, Minnesota - More than 100 people took to the streets, October 15, to protest U.S. military interventions, from Ukraine to Syria, Palestine and Somalia. The marchers shut down streets in the Minneapolis Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, where they were cheered by passing cars and pedestrians who came out of their homes to chant “Money for human needs, not for war!” with the protesters. The protest was initiated by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition (MPAC), which spearheaded a national call for a week of militant anti-war street protests circulated by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) with a slogan of “Back to the streets! Say no to U.S. wars!” More than 70 cities, both in the U.S. and internationally, have registered protests for the week of October 15-22.

Three Encampments And Halfway House Evicted – Displacing Hundreds

Minneapolis, Minnesota – On Oct. 6, 2022, the City of Minneapolis evicted three encampments of unhoused people, leaving over 100 people displaced without tents and blankets as a cold front swept the region. SWAT teams forced residents of the Near North, Van White, and Cedar-Franklin encampments to leave their tents as city workers bulldozed and threw away their belongings. Also on Oct. 6, dozens of people recently released from prison and living in a halfway house were evicted. In other moves just days before, the city used a massive police presence to evict an encampment near Bloomington and Lake St. In response to the severity of the recent evictions and the many previous sweeps, advocates of the unhoused held a multi-day occupation with tents outside of the Minneapolis City Hall pushing for resources and solutions. Also in response, hours after the evictions, graffiti reading “Evict Frey” with an image of a tent was painted on the side of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s apartment.

University Of Minnesota Service Workers Announce Plans To Strike

Minneapolis, Minnesota - Teamsters Local 320, which represents 1,500 service workers at the University of Minnesota, announced Monday during a press conference that the strike vote for higher wages they initiated Oct. 4 and 5 passed by a 93% margin. Teamsters members voted to commence a strike in light of the back and forth contract negotiations with the University, in which the University has refused to meet their requests. Brian Aldes, principal officer and secretary treasurer of Teamsters Local 320, said the date of the strike will not be announced at this time. Workers could strike as early as Oct. 22. “The 1,500 service workers at the University are the people who are responsible for the quality of life of our students who live and attend school at the University,” Aldes said.

A Minnesota Nurse Speaks Out About Exploitative Working Conditions

Hello, my name is Danielle and I’m a nurse at Methodist Hospital. I want to speak a little about the situation we are seeing currently which has led to this strike. HealthPartners permanently closed seven clinics putting 200 people jobless during the pandemic as the company seeks to put profit first—and accessibility for healthcare last. HealthPartners closed thirty pharmacies and left 300 people jobless while also selling their patients to Walgreens pharmacies before the pandemic. HealthPartners bought Park Nicollet Hospital in order to consolidate and control the market. They created an insurance company that double dips into our communities’ wallets. This has resulted in higher prices for medical services and greater leverage to negotiate higher prices from health insurance providers, leading to ever-increasing health care costs for individuals and families.

No New Talks Planned As Three-Day Nurses Strike Starts

Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota - Nurses at 15 hospitals in the Twin Cities and northern Minnesota began a three-day walkout Monday morning. The strike started at 7 a.m. and is scheduled to last until early Thursday morning. Union officials said no negotiations are currently planned during the strike period. Union nurses have been in negotiations since March, and working without a contract since June. The main sticking points are wage increases, retention, staffing and safety concerns, as well as addressing ongoing burnout, heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. "The most important thing for us is safe staffing.

Fighting For Union Recognition And Quality Care

I’m a nurse at University of Wisconsin Hospital, University Hospital, which is their main adult inpatient hospital. I’ve worked there for 5 years. I’m on a unit called F65 and have worked there for most of my career. Prior to Covid, it was General Medicine and Geriatrics, which meant that we cared for — and we still care for this population — a lot of people with chronic illnesses that come in for exacerbations of those illnesses. Since Covid, one of our main services has been taking care of Covid patients, and that’s still ongoing. And I’m a charge nurse, which means that I supervise the flow of patients in and out of the unit, write staffing assignments and help people out as they’re going about their day. I’ve been at this hospital for the entirety of my nursing career.

15,000 Nurses To Strike As They Fight To Put Patients Before Profits

St. Paul and Duluth, Minnesota – This morning, nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association announced that 15,000 nurses throughout the state plan to strike for three days beginning September 12, 2022, as they fight for fair contracts to put patients before profits. The strike is believed to be the largest private-sector nurses’ strike in U.S. history, and it comes as nurses have negotiated with hospital executives for more than five months and have worked without contracts for the last several months. The strike will be the first that Twin Cities and Twin Ports nurses have taken together in contract negotiations.

The Better Way To Right An Old Wrong

Imagine one day City Hall seized your home’s front and back yards, along with your driveway, front walk and back porch. Yes, you’d still have a house where you could eat, sleep and reside. But you’d no longer have your full home and what was rightly yours. Now, imagine you were given the opportunity for that land to be returned to you. All you’d have to do is promise to never change a thing. You could maybe do something benign – pruning the trees or mowing the grass – but you could not build a shed, start a garden, or add a swing set for your children. Would you take the deal? This, in essence, is the deal Indian Country is commonly offered when land conservation organizations offer to return anywhere from 10 to 10,000 acres of land to Native American tribes. Land that was wrongly taken from tribes more than 100 years ago is often only returned if the tribes agree to adhere to someone else’s interpretation of what’s best.

The Twin City Co-op Wars: An Interview With Erik Esse

In this episode of All Things Co-op, Cinar and Kevin talk with Erik Esse, the producer of the new documentary The Co-op Wars. The Co-op Wars traces the history of the food cooperative movement in the mid to late 1970s in Minnesota's Twin Cities. The rapid development of the food co-op network in the area prompted a split between anarchist "hippies" and Bolsheviks who styled themselves as the “Cooperative Organization” and set about taking over the People's Warehouse by force. The film provides powerful lessons for cooperative organizations and activists today. As Erik and the ATC guys dissect the film and its implications, they touch on the role of traditional politics, the limits of "third-worldism" in the first world, the mainstreaming of co-ops, the potential influence of COINTELPRO, and much more.

Minnesota Nurses’ Strike Vote Puts Safety And Conditions In Spotlight

Minnesota - Throughout the Covid pandemic, nurses around the US have faced deteriorating working conditions and challenges, from safety concerns to increasing workloads that have stemmed from understaffing as nurses have quit their jobs or retired early. Those nurses who are still on the job at many hospitals say they have been expected to do more with fewer resources, an issue that nurses say is causing retention crises and jeopardizing patient safety and care. Now nurses at 15 hospitals in the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis-St Paul) and Duluth, Minnesota, that are negotiating new union contracts with their respective hospitals have overwhelmingly Voted to authorize a strike. A date for the work stoppage has not been set yet by the union, the Minnesota Nurses Association, which represents about 15,000 nurses who voted on the strike authorization, but a 10-day notice must be given ahead of any strike.
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