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Commentary
Workers know the solutions

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, May 21, 2022

By Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, President,
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation

The changing of seasons from winter to spring feels a lot like hitting a giant refresh button. Optimism is in the air and new adventures await. This spring, we’ve got an opportunity to not only enjoy the changing of the seasons, but also an opportunity take a deep breath and do some much needed analysis of the new landscape for workers.

While COVID-19 is nowhere near done with us, the crisis-to-crisis stage of the pandemic seems to have waned. Now, we’ve got an opportunity to tell the full story of frontline workers — not just the snippets that made headlines and social media memes. We’ve got an opportunity to address political leadership and the choices they have made — or have not made — in the last four years.

These coming spring and summer months are going to be absolutely vital for workers to be sharing their thoughts, concerns and passions. This will take critical listening and deep reflection across all parts of our movement, from politicians, to community leaders to unions themselves.

This moment to have a reset and reflection is invaluable for shaping what’s at stake in our workplaces now that we have weathered the worst of the pandemic. What are the systemic changes that we must win in the workplace? How do we permanently raise the voice of workers? How do we harness the energy of historic union favorability? Workers themselves have the best answers to these questions.

While COVID-10 is nowhere near done with us, the crisis-to-crisis stage of the pandemic seems to have waned. Now we’ve got an opportunity to tell the full story of frontline workers… We’ve got an opportunity to address political leadership and the choices they have made — or have not made — in the last four years.

This moment to have a reset and reflection is also invaluable for shaping what’s at stake in the upcoming November 2022 elections. After four years of a divided legislature and elected officials going from one crisis to another, we can finally reflect on what that has brought to Minnesota and to working families.

What is the courageous political leadership that workers need — and how do we make that clear going into another historic election year? Again, workers themselves have the best answers to these questions.

So, while we know you are exhausted, we hope this spring optimism gives you the energy and courage to tell your story. Be honest about what’s motivating you as a worker. And, be honest about your frustrations. These conversations will create a framework for a more honest and meaningful dialogue as we enter into what is sure to be a fall election season filled with outside interests trying to tell us what our concerns should be.

Together we can lead with a vision for a brighter future for workers. Now’s our opportunity to make that future happen.

 


Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou was re-elected December 11, 2019 to a second four-year term as president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

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

 



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