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Reflecting on four years of leadership here at the MRLF

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, December 20, 2019

By Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, President,
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation

As I reflect on four years of leadership here at the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, I am in awe of the power of our members across this great labor movement. 

In recent years, the ground has shifted under our feet. We’ve grown our membership, while at the same time labor laws have been weakened and Right-to-Work has become the new reality for many. Brave immigrant workers, who historically have been marginalized in low-wage occupations, have come together for industry-changing wins. All while our national politics have driven an increased sense of fear and division into our communities. Our economy has rapidly gone digital and global. We’ve faced divided government at the state level but have seen ambitious cities stepping in to take action. Employers are gaining wealth, while at the same time going after our wages, health benefits and retirement with a renewed vigor.

Throughout all this change, the MRLF has been a steady force. We’ve driven campaigns, responded to crisis and convened critical partnerships. Given this constantly changing landscape, it is hard to predict what the next four years will bring.

We are going to capitalize on this moment of renewed public support for labor by being bold and ambitious.

What we do know, is that the MRLF is going to continue to prioritize organizing and growth. We are going capitalize on this moment of renewed public support for labor by being bold and ambitious. We are going to strengthen ourselves from the inside out, prioritizing tactics and campaigns that make our members the most powerful.

This means we will prioritize mass mobilization around workplace campaigns — so employers see the combined strength of today’s labor movement. We will build powerful partnerships and lead strategic industry-wide campaigns.

In regard to policy, we will work to raise labor standards, especially in our suburban communities. We will invest in local strategies that support public education, infrastructure and transportation, affordable housing, equitable economic opportunities and expanding collective bargaining.

We will mobilize our base of members to fight for economic security for all, including a secure retirement, healthcare for all and labor law reform.

And of course, in politics we will work to coordinate our resources not just around candidates and win numbers, but around tangible organizing and legislative priorities. We will look at strategies that strengthen worksites and promote real conversations rather than just delivering talking points.

Finally, we will look internally to make sure our organization and our labor movement is the best version of ourselves. We will uplift a unified voice in support of immigrant justice, racial justice and women’s justice for all workers. We will work to tell the story of today’s labor movement and improve our communications infrastructure. Strengthening ourselves from the inside out will deliver a more sustained, impactful movement for the future of all workers.

I am grateful to the leaders of our local unions who trust the MRLF to be there when we are most needed. I am also grateful for their confidence in our ability to innovate and try new things.

I look forward to what we will accomplish together in the next four years of my leadership here at the MRLF.

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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Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
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