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Commentary
The entire state will be watching the 2019 Bloomington elections

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, September 27, 2019

By Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, President,
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation

This fall, a unified labor movement will be having important conversations with voters throughout the Bloomington community as they hold elections for mayor, three city council members, and three school board members. As we prepare to mobilize for this important election, it is important to reflect on why the Bloomington community is so critical to workers in that community and throughout our region.

Bloomington is the fourth largest city in the state and is a core driver of our regional economy. The city enterprise is responsible for the livelihoods of hundreds of unionized public sector employees that carry out the work of the city.

Bloomington’s population is growing, and signs of economic development can be seen across the city. The economic development strategies which the city of Bloomington pursues impact many unions throughout our region, particularly in the infrastructure, construction, hospitality and service sectors.

The economic development strategies which the city of Bloomington pursues impact many unions throughout our region.

The Minneapolis–St. Paul airport abuts the city and Bloomington is of course home to the Mall of America, making the city a major hub for the hotel, event and restaurant industries.

Affordable housing, further retail development and a potential large-scale destination waterpark/hotel attraction are all important factors that will determine the future trajectory of the city.

Important questions are on the horizon about how to raise labor standards outside of the urban core — such as minimum wage and earned sick time — and Bloomington is the first suburb where that debate will play out.

Education continues to be an important topic for Bloomington families. In Bloomington, like many districts across our region, we are seeing an increasing disconnect between the leaders making decisions and classroom realities. This disconnect negatively impacts families, educators and school support staff who are working so hard to provide a world-class education and close the racial inequities that plague the community.

Given this landscape, our Bloomington 2019 platform includes:

• Expanding labor standards and worker protections for the development and operation of projects with public funding: Labor Peace Agreements, Project Labor Agreements, Prevailing Wage, and other strategies;

• Expanding labor standards and worker protections for all workers: Wage Theft, Earned Sick Time, Minimum Wage, and other strategies;

• Fully funding our schools;

• Strengthening the voice of students, parents, educators and school staff;

• Addressing racial and economic inequalities;

• Addressing the housing crisis.

In addition to the very important local and regional issues at stake in Bloomington, the entire state will be watching this election unfold. Minnesota is going to be a battleground state in the 2020 presidential race, so the political infrastructure of next year is being built today. We already are seeing local campaigns using and testing the campaign tactics that we will see all over the state next year. This dynamic reinforces how important it is for us to use this opportunity in Bloomington to launch our organizing efforts into next year.

The MRLF has endorsed candidates for Bloomington Mayor, City Council and School Board. Click here for list of endorsed candidates.

To get involved in the MRLF’s work in Bloomington, contact MRLF campaigns manager Casey Hudek at 612-321-5671 or casey@minneapolisunions.org.

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

Map of Bloomington



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