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Striking Minnesota

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Glad to see unions across Minnesota coming together to maximize power through striking together.

Nearly 10,000 workers from a coalition of separate unions, working for a diverse group of employers, are planning a series of coordinated strikes in Minnesota this week and next. Their aim: Exert leverage at the bargaining table.

First to the picket lines Monday are about 4,000 janitors who work cleaning corporate offices who began a strike scheduled to last three days. They were joined Tuesday by 1,000 workers at a dozen nursing homes who are planning a one-day strike. And about 4,000 teachers in St. Paul are due to go on strike next week.

Union leaders say the strategy is already paying dividends, as a number of unions set to wage strikes of their own this week recently reached deals that provided double-digit percentage pay increases and retirement and health benefits their members never had before.

One of those deal was announced Monday evening, when Laborers’ International Union of North America announced it had reached a deal with the City of Minneapolis on a new contract for about 500 municipal workers. The union said the deal included raises totaling 30% over three years, which it said was the largest pay raise the union had ever won. And it said it will continue to support the unions that have not yet won a deal.

“This victory shows that when we are united in solidarity with our union brothers and sisters, we have the power to win,” said AJ Lange, business agent at the local union representing the workers. “When we stand together, we can’t be ignored.”

Other recent deals include one that covers about 2,500 bus drivers, another that covers about 2,000 security guards, as well as contracts for about 500 workers who clean big box stores at night as well as about 100 employees of Minneapolis’ downtown improvement district.

“The only way we’re going to be seen and heard is if we show we’re ready to take action together,” said Greg Nammacher, president SEIU Local 26, one of the locals leading the effort.

More of this, 100%, great stuff.

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