Saturday, October 11, 2014

Workers Rally in Duluth to Save Postal Facility



Letter Carriers from across Minnesota were joined by local residents at a rally Monday, Oct.6 to save the Duluth mail-processing facility.

The U.S. Postal Service has already consolidated 141 mail-processing facilities nationwide and another 82, including the one in Duluth, are on the chopping block.

Friday, October 3, 2014

400,000 March Against Climate Change

An estimated 400,000 people took to the streets of Manhattan on Sept. 21 for the largest single climate change protest to date.

The People’s Climate March, which took place two days before a one-day United Nations Climate Summit, was about twice as large as organizers had expected. There were so many present that by the time the back of the march began to move—over four hours after the front stepped off—many thousands of people had already finished the 2.1-mile route. It took more than six hours for the entire march to end.

The event was organized by 350.org and the liberal internet activism group Avaaz, with over 1500 endorsing organizations. While the New York march was the largest, 2646 companion rallies took place in 162 different countries. A West Coast People’s Climate Rally in Oakland, Calif., drew about 4000 participants.

Friday, September 26, 2014

10 Points for a Labor Strategy Against Climate Change

Since each of us gets only a few minutes for our contributions on such a large subject as climate change, I have chosen to put forward ten brief points for a trade union strategy against climate change. Firstly, I will establish some of the important factual basis on which we have to build our strategies and policies.

1. Climate change is not a threat of the future, it is already happening here and now, it is man-made, and the consequences can be catastrophic.

2. The climate threat will have widespread implications for social development – either as a result of climate change itself, or as a result of measures to prevent or mitigate climate change. The way we live and work will thus change considerably, whether we take action or not. Inaction, or postponing action, represents the greatest threat – with disastrous effects.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fracking Must Be Banned!

Despite the imminent perils of global warming and global ecosystem collapse, capitalism has accelerated the assault on Earth’s environment. Faced with the need to grow or die, the global capitalist economy requires ever more non-renewable natural resources and fossil fuels, whatever the environmental cost. Serving their corporate overlords, government regulators pay lip service to environmental protection while they rubber-stamp pollution. It is only when affected communities build determined, militant resistance movements that extraction projects can be halted.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a terrifying example of how fossil fuel company profits take precedence over people’s health. The process of fracking involves drilling a well up to thousands of feet deep into layers of shale bedrock, then drilling sideways for several hundred more feet. Explosives are then used to fracture the bedrock, exposing the oil or gas within. A simple graphical explanation can be found at www.dangersoffracking.com.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

MN Home Health Care Workers Win Historic Victory

On Tuesday, Minnesota’s home care workers etched a new chapter in the state’s history, alongside the miners who organized the Iron Range, the truck drivers who shut down Minneapolis in 1934 and the women who led landmark strikes by teachers in 1946 and 1970 and by nurses in 1984.

Ballots were mailed to 26,000 home care workers Aug. 1 in the largest union election in Minnesota history. When the state Bureau of Mediation Services counted the ballots Tuesday, 60 percent of those voting (3,542 out of a total of 5,872) chose SEIU Healthcare Minnesota to represent them.

“Despite every obstacle put in our way, we stuck to our promise to keep fighting until we were able to exercise our democratic right to let home care workers decide for themselves whether to form a union,” said Sumer Spika, a home care worker from St. Paul.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Petitions for Janitor Jobs Delivered to UWS Chancellor

Today there was a welcome back event at the University of Wisconsin-Superior for faculty and staff. In solidarity with the janitors whose jobs are threatened with outsourcing, supporters handed out hundreds of leaflets and stickers to what proved to be a very receptive audience.

During the "Town Hall" session of the event we delievered the 5,000 petition signatures, that we've gathered on behalf of the janitors, to the embarassed UWS Chancellor. 

A big thank you to everyone who helped to today, and to the hundreds who proudly wore the solidarity stickers!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Douglas County Board Opposes Outsourcing of UWS Janitors

WHEREAS, the University of Wisconsin system, one of the leading university systems in the nation and world, provides a wealth of quality education and prominent research that benefits the health and well-being of the world population, and

WHEREAS, the University of Wisconsin-Superior, with 2,700 students, is home to important environmental, transportation, and economic research and development centers, and

WHEREAS, the University of Wisconsin-Superior is a regional campus offering quality higher education for both traditional and non-traditional students at an affordable cost, and

WHEREAS, the University of Wisconsin-Superior is a significant cultural and economic contributor to the region, and

Friday, August 15, 2014

Justice for Michael Brown!

“I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!” — Michael Brown, Rest In Power, killed by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer on Aug. 9. Unarmed, Michael had already been shot in the back once when—according to witnesses—he turned around, raised his arms in the air to surrender, and pleaded for his life. Brown, an African American, was then shot to death by a reportedly white police officer.

Thousands of people in over 100 communities held vigils on Thursday in remembrance of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was killed by Ferguson, Missouri, police on Aug. 9. Protesters demonstrated their solidarity with a moment of silence, told stories of police brutality, chanted demands, and raised their arms as Brown had done, among other things (use hashtag #NMOS14 to search the powerful photos). Events took place in towns and cities from London to California.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Love Water Not Oil

'Love Water Not Oil' - A Northern Minnesota Tour to STOP the Sandpiper Pipeline, the Development of a New Pipeline Corridor through the Northland, and Fracking in the Region

From August 13th to the 28th, Honor the Earth will sponsor an organizing and outreach tour in northern Minnesota, aimed at engaging communities and summer residents along the Enbridge preferred route for the Sandpiper pipeline, one of many tar sands and fracked oil pipelines proposed to cross the North Country.

The tour will inform local citizens and increase political and social pressure on the regulatory agencies. The outreach tour is combined with an extensive policy and regulatory intervention strategy undertaken by Honor the Earth, with allied organizations like Friends of the Headwaters.  Michael Dahl, organizer with Honor the Earth comments, “Political and social participation will be the driving force that protects the waters of the North Country.”

Friday, August 8, 2014

Rents on the Rise in Minnesota

Finding an affordable place to rent has gotten more difficult, and not just in the Twin Cities, a new set of county-by-county housing profiles finds.

Minnesota Housing Partnership's 2014 County Profiles reveal that affording rent is now more difficult for renters than it was in the year 2000 in all but three of Minnesota's 87 counties. Rising rents and falling incomes for renters are to blame.

Since 2000, Minnesota's median rents have risen by 6%, while incomes for renters have fallen by 17%.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Remember the Past But Work for the Future

August 6, 1945 we dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. The world changed forever. We came under the shadow of a nuclear mushroom cloud that is still with us 69 years later.   

We should remember the dead and wounded from the horrific events of that time. At Hiroshima we killed an estimated 166,000 and, three days later, 80,000 in Nagasaki. Most of these dead were non-combatant civilians of all ages.

We should remember that war has always been destructive. But with the atomic age we reached a new level of destructiveness. During the arms race of the cold war we build arsenals with the power to literally destroy the world. When you destroy the world no one wins.

Friday, August 1, 2014

How the Fashion Industry Oppresses Women

Tansey E. Hoskins clearly loves art, understands the impulse to body modification and sartorial statement, and can imagine a socialist society where the creativity of the vast majority will be unleashed to spectacular ends in clothing and many other spheres. She has also written the most devastating deconstruction of the fashion industry, as well as of the “ethical fashion movement,” to date. Her new book, “Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion” (London: Pluto Press, 2014), leaves no negative impact of the fashion industry unexamined. She expertly lays out the industry record regarding class differentiation, worker exploitation, imperialist underdevelopment, racial stereotyping, female self-loathing, environmental degradation, gender oppression, and artist cooptation.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Protest Against Outsourcing of Jobs at UWS

It was a hot day on Saturday, July 26, but that didn't stop 175 people from marching through Superior. The protest was held in support of the 27 custodians and grounds keepers whose jobs the University of WI-Superior is considering outsourcing. The march and rally was part of an ongoing campaign consisting of letter writing, petitioning, protesting and getting local groups and government bodies to pass resolutions of support - all geared to show UWS that we will not stand for them tossing these hard working men and women to the curb. 

The University says that it is considering outsourcing as a way to get out of their current budget crunch, but at the same time the top administrators just gave themselves 12% raises. We cry foul, and reject their proposal to make the lowest paid of their workers pay for a budget crisis that was caused by those at the top, not those at the bottom.

Below is a series of video clips of the July 26 protest, along with some links to local media coverage of the event. If you haven't yet, please contact UWS Chancellor Renee Wachter rwachter@uwsuper.edu. And stay tuned here at the Northern Worker for announcements regarding future actions!


Marching through the UWS campus


Janitor Glen Khalar addressing the protest


Prof. Joel Sipress addressing the protest


Singing "Solidarity Forever!" at the end of the rally


-WDIO's coverage of the protest
-Northland News Center's coverage of the protest
-AFSCME Blog: Outsourcing Fight Involves Community