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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 - 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.
Minneapolis, Minnesota – The corner of 47th Street and Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis was quiet for the first time after spirited drumming and chants of, “What’s disgusting? Union busting!” filled the air from July 31-August 1. Employees of the Cedar Avenue Starbucks had returned to work after a two-day strike in protest of the company’s refusal to bargain with the newly formed union, as well as what the workers say are backhanded attempts to undermine union efforts. Baristas and shift supervisors united to raise grievances against the manager of the location and Starbucks corporate for difficult working conditions and low pay. In a letter posted on the front door of the store, workers addressed their manager: Direction only from the top is an unjust system we refuse to participate in. You are complicit in that system.
Minneapolis, Minnesota – Minneapolis has experienced a real estate boom since the economic crash of 2008 which was triggered when lenders gave out millions of discriminatory home loans with adjustable interest rates to mostly Black and brown families causing a massive nationwide mortgage default. In the past decade, the city added over 20,000 new units to its housing stock, with the overwhelming majority being rental units. With increased housing supply, Minneapolis added 60,000 new residents, according to the 2020 census. In recent years, the City of Minneapolis has attempted to codify “upzoning,” a practice where multi-family housing stock is increased citywide, with its 2040 plan that banned the new construction of single family homes throughout the city.
Minneapolis, Minnesota – After swelling to serve several dozen residents swept from other encampments, the lot on 29th Street and 14th Avenue continues to be controlled by unhoused residents despite the ongoing threat of eviction. On July 8, dozens of community members rallied at the encampment in the early morning hours and staved off what many thought was an eviction attempt by the city. Unicorn Riot heard from East Phillips resident and encampment supporter, Angela Richards, along with encampment resident, King, about the roles they were taking during the morning of July 8 and their thoughts on encampment evictions. Update: On July 20, 2022, Minneapolis Police evicted the encampment. Unicorn Riot was live speaking with some of the residents displaced from the eviction.
Minneapolis, Minnesota - 25 community members and organizers entered Mayor Jacob Frey’s office, June 6, to demand that the city stop stifling the East Phillips neighborhood’s efforts to build a community-owned sustainable urban farm on the site of an unused Roofing Depot plant in their neighborhood. The coalition was led by the Climate Justice Committee and the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI). The site, which has decades’ worth of toxic arsenic waste in its soil and structures, is slated to be demolished by the city to accommodate more public works facilities. This would throw all of these toxins into the air of a neighborhood that already has some of the worst air quality in Minnesota.
Registered nurses picketed outside 11 Twin Cities hospitals Wednesday, calling on health care executives to put patients over profits in contract negotiations with their union, the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA). Talks covering 15,000 nurses in the metro and Duluth began in March. Twin Cities nurses, who work at Allina Health, Children’s Hospital, M Health Fairview and North Memorial hospitals, saw their contracts expire Tuesday. On a combined picket line outside United and Children’s hospitals in St. Paul, nurses said the crisis facing their profession demands urgency and bold action to keep nurses from leaving the bedside. “I think a lot of our co-workers are waiting to see what happens with this contract to make determinations about what they’re going to do next, if they’re going to stay at the bedside,” United emergency department nurse Brittany Livaccari said.
St. Paul, MN - The 8th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld Jessica Reznicek’s 8 year prison sentence. In their decision the three Trump-appointed judges refused to address whether the use of a terrorism enhancement was appropriate saying, “Reznicek argues that the enhancement should not have applied because her actions were directed at a private company, rather than the government. Even if that is right, any error was harmless.” Reznicek’s supporters worry that If the decision stands, the judicial branch will continue applying terrorism enhancements to activists, while claiming that a drastically increased sentence from being labled a terrorists by the U.S. govenment is harmless. In July 2021 Judge Rebecca Ebinger applied a terrorism enhancement to Reznicek’s case that automatically increased her sentencing guidelines range from 37-46 months to 210-240 months.
In the past few weeks, a number of water protectors have seen criminal cases dismissed by prosecutors in so-called Northern Minnesota for alleged actions taken to stop the Line 3 pipeline in defense of the water, the climate, and the treaty rights of the Anishinaabeg people. Violating Anishinaabe treaty territories in Minnesota, the new stretch of Line 3 was approved without full consent or proper impact studies, threatening safe water sources for millions. It carries the carbon equivalent of 50 coal plants. More than 68,000 Minnesotans testified against this plan. Over 1,000 arrests were made during the nine months of construction. These individuals put their bodies on the line to stop Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline, a massive tar sands project that threatens the state’s lakes, rivers, aquifers and wild rice beds.
Minneapolis, Minnesota - Two months after Minneapolis Police officer Mark Hanneman killed Amir Locke, 22, while executing a no-knock warrant, prosecutors say they won’t be charging Hanneman with a crime. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison released a 44-page joint report on April 6 explaining their decision in the case. Also released was a report by retired police officer John “Jack” Ryan. Locke was killed by Hanneman, who was part of a SWAT unit serving a pre-dawn no-knock warrant on February 2, 2022. Locke, a registered gun owner, was sleeping in a blanket on his cousin’s couch before being awakened by a SWAT unit at 6:48 a.m. after they entered the apartment with a key.