Press Releases

On Day of Massive Nationwide Strikes, MSP Airport Workers March on Employer in Call for Higher Wages

Workers including MAC Commissioner Ibrahim Mohamed & fired Delta worker Kip Hedges were joined by community supporters in call for better wages & working conditions

St. Paul, Minn — Ibrahim Mohamed, who was appointed to the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) by Governor Dayton in January, was part of the action that asked the management of Air Serv to support workers in their calls on the MAC to raise wages and working conditions for sub-contracted airport workers.  (more…)

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

SEIU Members Applaud Gov. Dayton’s Focus on Working Families at State of the State

St. Paul, MN – Leaders of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Minnesota applauded Governor Dayton following his 2015 State of the State speech tonight: (more…)

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

New Report Highlights Impacts of High Poverty Rates in Minnesota’s East African Communities

Cites Raising Wages to $15 at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, Largest Employer of Community, as Chance to Bring over $30 Million to Local Economy

Minneapolis, MN – A new report titled “Waiting for Takeoff,” released today by the Center for Popular Democracy, shined light on the disproportionately high poverty rate for the East African communities in Minnesota. It also highlighted the role the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) International Airport, as the largest employer of East African workers in the state, could take to address this crisis. (more…)

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

SEIU Minnesota State Council call on Bloomington City Attorney to Drop Charges Against #BlackLivesMatter Activists

The following resolution was passed at the SEIU Minnesota State Council Executive Board meeting calling on Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson to drop charges against the 11 #BlackLivesMatter members who were part of the peaceful protest at the Mall of America on December 20, 2014:

 Having the right to take part in peaceful, non-violent protest is an essential part of any Democracy. Throughout history, many important victories have been won because brave women and men were willing to raise their voices and push back against the status quo. Any attempts to chill free speech will harm us all.

 At a time of staggering racial inequalities, the #BlackLivesMatter movement is using their voices to shine a light on structural racism in our society and the harm it causes to families: the physical, economic, emotional and spiritual damage to our sisters and brothers here in Minnesota and across the country.

 The decision by Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson to prosecute protest organizers is wrong. We should be having thoughtful dialogue on how to close the painful racial inequalities that plague our communities, not spending time criminalizing peaceful protesters. We urge Sandra Johnson to do the right thing and drop the charges against these peaceful activists.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Hundreds of Hospital Workers Picket Allina

Workers and supporters hold informational picket at Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis to highlight need for safer staffing levels, other health and safety measures; more pickets planned Thursday at other Allina Hospitals

Minneapolis — Over 500 SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members employed by Allina Health held an informational picket outside of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis on Wednesday to highlight the need for safer staffing levels and other health and safety measures after drastic cuts made by Allina in recent years have led to over a thousand staffing emergencies in recent years. (more…)

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

SEIU Members Are Joined By Elected Officials to Celebrate Successful Lobby Day

Group highlight main issues that could help working families ‘live, not just survive”

St. Paul – Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) came together today for their 2015 Lobby Day, which saw hundreds of members from across the state head to the Capitol to advocate for issues that affect working families in Minnesota. To cap off the day, members and elected officials held an event on the Capitol steps to call out a few of the main priorities to SEIU members in Minnesota. (more…)

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

U of MN Workers Attend Regent Vote at the Capitol and Call for Stronger Faculty and Community Voice

Faculty, Staff and Students engage Regent candidates in dialogue as they await the Legislature’s vote

St. Paul – Faculty, staff, and students from the University of Minnesota showed up at the Capitol on Wednesday evening to talk to candidates for the U of MN Board of Regents about the importance of soliciting input from faculty and students. As Regents awaited the outcomes of their elections inside the House chamber, University faculty, staff and students gathered in the hallway under a large print-out of the University’s mission statement and made themselves available to speak with candidates.  Faculty decided to invite Regents into dialogue after attending the Higher Education Committee hearing, which they felt revealed a troubling disconnect between Regent candidates and the people of the University they seek to govern.

UofM_LogoMany in attendance stressed the U’s land grant tradition and encouraged the Regents to defend this legacy from various threats. Harry Boyte, a Senior Fellow at the Humphrey Institute, observed that the land grant tradition means that universities are “owned by the whole people” and embody the idea of democratic excellence. At the heart of this idea is “that a diverse mix of people from many different backgrounds interacting and cooperating in learning and discovery can achieve greatness that a focus on individual stars and ‘the best and the brightest’ never can accomplish.”

This land grant tradition, argued Professor Karen-Sue Taussig, means that the U is not a business but a public trust. “I have become increasingly concerned that the administration and regents treat the U like just any other business rather than recognizing the distinctive public role the university plays in creating the kind of thoughtful, well-rounded and engaged educated citizenry that is essential to maintaining a vibrant democracy.”

The need to broadly educate citizens and serve an increasingly diverse populace was another recurring theme at the event. Student Alexandra Vagac noted that the U has a responsibility to provide a quality education to students regardless of their degree path. “When private dollars flood public education we begin to see situations like that of the Chicano and Latino/a Studies Department at the U, which is consistently underfunded compared to other ‘more profitable’ departments.” Echoing this point, Professor Irene Duranczyk observed that by “closing departments that embrace diversity” and that prepare Minnesotans to thrive in an increasingly diverse global society, “we are taking another step backward, away from our mission.”

In carrying out their duties, Professor Naomi Scheman emphasized that Regents should understand that they “are entrusted with the care of the University, and fulfilling that trust requires knowing about the history and the culture of the U and the complexities of the relationships with it and with diverse communities around the state, and protecting those relationships from being defined in narrowly economic terms.”

Faculty expressed hope that the conversations at the Capitol were just the first of many conversations with Regents. “Right now it seems to me that Regents mostly sit in rooms with administrators and digest reports and Powerpoint presentations designed to present a pre-packaged narrative about what’s happening at the U,” said Professor Teri Caraway. “Regents will carry out their public responsibilities more effectively if they actively solicit input from faculty and students about what is going on at the U.”

Faculty organized this event as part of their ongoing work to build a faculty union to increase faculty and employee voice in decision-making at the University of Minnesota.

###

U of MN Academics United is the faculty union forming to represent faculty and professional employees at the University of Minnesota. It is affiliated with SEIU Local 284, which represents over 7,000 education workers statewide, including the recently unionized adjunct faculty at Hamline University

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

During National School Breakfast Week, St. Cloud School Staff Join Fight for Universal Breakfast Proposal

New Video Highlights Need for Statewide Legislation

St Paul, MN —  School cafeteria workers and members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 284 released a video this week urging legislators to pass legislation to provide free breakfast for all elementary students.

As part of National School Breakfast Week (March 2nd- 6th), Westwood Elementary cafeteria workers in St. Cloud were featured in a new video to promote the proposal for expanded free school breakfast. Lori Smith, Jackie Gall and Jo Bouer are urging fellow union members, school support staff and members of the public to join the campaign to fight hunger in schools.

Hundreds of members of SEIU will be at the Capitol on Wednesday March 4th to fight for policies that help working families, including the universal breakfast proposal. This bill would increase support for Minnesota’s neediest students and improve academic performance. School support staff from across the state will also be talking to legislators about improving the equity in school funding.

“I’m more than a lunch lady. I’m a community advocate, a union leader and a concerned parent,” said Lori Smith, a cafeteria staff worker at Westwood Elementary School in St. Cloud. “Too many students in our community come to school hungry and I’m fighting to change that.”

Research by the University of Minnesota showed that children who go to school hungry are also twice as likely to need special counseling and to repeat a grade,  and three times more likely to be suspended from school. In addition, childhood food insecurity costs Minnesota about $642 million annually in direct costs as children experience illness when they are not adequately fed.

“We all know there is a direct negative impact on a child’s ability to learn who is in the classroom hungry. Yet it happens every day in every single school district in our state,” stated SEIU Local 284 Executive Director Carol Nieters. “It’s time Minnesota does the right thing to ensure that every child has what they need to succeed to start their school day. A free breakfast for all children in Minnesota is a good start.”

Governor Mark Dayton made an expansion of the breakfast program part of his budget proposal for K-3rd grade. Senate Bill 344 & House Bill 671 would expand free breakfast through elementary school. Currently, kindergarten students receive free breakfast at school.

 

###

SEIU 284 represents 8700 bus drivers, paraprofessionals, food service workers, early learning employees, clerical staff and custodians throughout the state of Minnesota. 

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

In Groundbreaking Appointment, Airport Worker Becomes First Somali-American To Serve On Metropolitan Airports Commission 

The appointment by Governor Dayton lifts current airport employee into important governing role

St. Paul, MN –  On Monday, February 9th, Governor Dayton announced his latest appointments to the 14 member Metropolitan Airports Commission. One of the two new Commissioners selected was Ibrahim Mohamed from Rosemount, a cart driver who works for Delta sub-contractor AirServ and has been employed at the airport for 11 years. Mohamed will be the first Somali-American to serve on the MAC and will be the only current airport employee.

Metropolitan Airports Commission Member Ibrahim Mohamed

Metropolitan Airports Commission
Member Ibrahim Mohamed

In his 11 years at the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) Airport, Mohamed has served many roles, including Baggage Runner, Ticket Verifier and Lavatory and Water Services. He said that his range of experience, on both sides of security, will allow him to serve the residents of his district and be a voice for the workers on the front lines.

“I am excited to bring the voices of the people that I speak to on a daily basis to the MAC. In my current position as a cart driver, I speak with hundreds of elderly and disabled passengers each day. I hear about their time in MSP and am the first line of response to help,” said Mohamed. “I am excited about this opportunity to serve and to be a leader in connecting new communities to the important work of the Metropolitan Airports Commission.”

Mohamed and hundreds of other employees of AirServ at MSP have been advocating for improved working conditions over the last few years.

“There are hundreds of workers like myself who are paid minimum wage, with no benefits. I’ve made up to $12.50 at various positions, but currently make minimum wage, which just went up in August to $8.00 per hour. I will work to make sure that workers at the airport are part of the conversations at the MAC, because when workers have fair pay, decent benefits and a reliable schedule, we are able to provide world-class service to passengers,” said Mohamed. “I will continue to stand together with my fellow co-workers as we fight for dignity and respect for all workers at MSP, and will always fight to make sure the needs and concerns of workers and passengers are part of all decisions made by the MAC.”

AirServ workers like Mohamed have been fighting for years to have the right to form a union with SEIU Local 26. They have taken direct  action with disability rights activists to highlight the need for sub-contractors like Air Serv to value seniors and people with disabilities by paying the workers who serve them a fair wage with decent benefits and a stable schedule.

SEIU Local 26 President Javier Morillo praised Ibrahim’s work to improve conditions at the airport and his new role as MAC commissioner.

“We applaud Governor Dayton for insisting that a worker be represented on the MAC, and appointing a great candidate like Ibrahim Mohamed,” Morillo stated. “I am excited to see Ibrahim continue the work he has always done fighting to make the MSP airport the best airport it can possibly be for both employees and passengers.”

Mohamed’s first MAC hearing will be this Tuesday, February 17th.

###

SEIU Local 26 is Minnesota’s Property Services Union, uniting more than 6,000 janitors, security officers, and window cleaners in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. SEIU unites more than 225,000 property services workers nationally, and over 2 million including workers in healthcare and the public sector.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

School Support Staff Comment on Senate ‘excellence in Education’ Package

St Paul, MN — School support staff and members of SEIU Local 284 praised the “Excellence in Education” package released today. The goal of the collected bills is to close the achievement gap by increasing support and equity for all school districts.  (more…)

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment