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Commentary
Local elections November 7:
VOTE!

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 27, 2017

By Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, President,
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation

As you pick up this month’s Labor Review, we are just a few short days from an important municipal election day: Tuesday, November 7.

Particularly notable this year are the Minneapolis elections. All 13 City Council members, the Mayor and all nine Park Board Commissioners will be on the ballot.

Coupled with ranked choice voting, voters in Minneapolis will face many decisions as they enter the voting booth.

Over many years, the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation has developed deep relationships with workers, local elected officials, city leaders and community organizations all across the city. When workers in Minneapolis are fighting for a voice in the workplace, we know we can count on a vast network to support them.

With our partnerships running deep, it can make a big city like Minneapolis feel a lot smaller, especially when we have so many friends running for key positions.

Working in partnership with local leaders, workers and community groups we came together and won major victories over the last several years.

We know the most important task ahead of us, whoever wins, is coming together for a statewide movement in 2018.

With a growing city, we’ve been able to invest in our public sector workforce — those on the front line doing the work of the city.

We’ve also made significant investments in our aging streets and parks system.

Most notably, we’ve even passed historic legislation that raises standards for all workers by winning municipal earned sick and safe time and a municipal $15 minimum wage. Now we are on a pathway to building one of the strongest enforcement departments in the nation.

All of this was done with an eye to organizing. Today, every grocery co-op in the City of Minneapolis is now unionized, a victory that included strategizing with our municipal work. Workers at Franklin Street Bakery are on the precipice of being recognized as a union after decades of fighting for a voice.

Over the past four years, the MRLF has been able to continually count on the current Minneapolis City Council to be a partner in this organizing and growth work. From day one, this group of 13 got straight to work on behalf of all our members and workers across the city. For 2017, we endorsed all 11 incumbents running for re-election (and new candidates in the open 3rd and 8th Wards) because, as a team, they have changed the course of history for workers in Minneapolis.

We know our work isn’t done and many issues remain to be addressed, but we are confident that when we come together we will be able to tackle the challenges in front of us.

The MRLF spent a lot of time meeting with and engaging the candidates for Minneapolis Mayor, including holding a meet and greet event for our members. With many friends in the race, affiliates divided and a divisive dust settling across the city, the MRLF chose not to make an endorsement for Minneapolis Mayor.

We know the most important task ahead of us, whoever wins, is coming together for a statewide movement in 2018.

With Trump in the presidency, our persistent equity gaps and the state one election away from slipping into an unstoppable anti-worker majority, we must take our role very seriously in this moment. Minneapolis has proven to be a great laboratory for democracy. We will need everyone in Minneapolis helping to fight to protect our gains. We know we have that partnership in any of the leading mayoral candidates — and we hope to help keep our focus on our shared enemies rather than what divides Minneapolis voters.

This issue of the Labor Review features several candidate profiles. Please take the time to learn about and support your labor-endorsed candidates for this year’s 2017 elections. This will be our first opportunity to show that our democracy will be stronger — not weaker — under our current national leadership.

See list of 2017 MRLF-endorsed candidates and school levies.

Contact MRLF president Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou at 612-321-5670 or chelsie@minneapolisunions.org.

 



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