Minneapolis City Council
‘We’ve got to be focused on racial equity’
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 27, 2017
By Steve Share, editor, Minneapolis Labor Review
MINNEAPOLIS — “I’ve always had a deep sense of social justice,” says Steve Fletcher.
Fletcher is running for the open Ward 3 seat representing downtown and northeast Minneapolis on the Minneapolis city council.
Fletcher is endorsed by the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO and the DFL Party.
The one-term incumbent, Jacob Frey, is not running for re-election and is running for mayor.
Fletcher was born in Iowa, spent part of his childhood in Colorado Springs, and then moved with his family to the Twin Cities, where he graduated from St. Louis Park High School.
His parents —Roger Fletcher and Judy Rotenberg — were music teachers and both were members of two unions: the American Federation of Musicians and their local teachers union.
Fletcher has been a member of three unions and has worked in a variety of fields, he relates, but always was involved in community organizing as a volunteer. “That I got from my parents.”
||‘I think it’s centrally important that the city be a good city for working people and I’m looking forward to working with unions to empower more workers.’
Fletcher graduated from the University of Minnesota and earned a masters degree at New York University. At NYU, Fletcher was a graduate teaching assistant and member of UAW 2110 when the local went on strike. When workers go on strike, he says, “I understand in my guts what that risk is.”
Also in New York, Fletcher taught labor studies and labor politics for three years to IBEW members in a special program at Empire State College/SUNY, where he was an AFT member.
Back in Minnesota, Fletcher worked for ACORN and later became the first director of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. At NOC, he helped lead efforts to defeat the voter ID amendment and marriage amendment in the 2012 elections.
Later, as executive director of progressive think-tank Minnesota 2020, Fletcher helped support the campaign to raise the state’s minimum wage.
More recently, Fletcher worked for SEIU Local 284 and directed the union organizing campaign among faculty members at the University of Minnesota.
In running for city council, “the biggest thing we’re talking about is affordable housing,” Fletcher says. “If you live in the city, you ought to be able to live there.”
Transportation is another chief concern. Fletcher wants to see the city work with the Metropolitan Council to create transportation options and a more modern bus grid, one that connects neighborhoods, rather than running most routes into downtown.
Above all, Fletcher says, “we’ve got to be focused on equity in every decision we make… There’s nobody in the city who can pretend we can achieve prosperity” — and tackle public safety, housing and jobs — “unless we can address racial equity.”
To Labor Review readers, Fletcher says, “I’m someone who was raised union and has actively put my job on the line and went on strike… I will be someone who knows the power of collective bargaining.”
“I think it’s centrally important that the city be a good city for working people and I’m looking forward to working with unions to empower more workers,” Fletcher says.