Nearly two months into Minnesota’s 2021 legislative session, Minnesota’s Labor Movement continues to pursue legislative priorities that put working people first, especially workers who have sacrificed most during this pandemic. At the core of the Minnesota AFL-CIO’s 2021 legislative priorities is advancing racial and economic justice in our state.
Following the renewed calls for justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, the Minnesota AFL-CIO recommitted itself to advancing racial equity and dismantling white supremacy. In determining what priorities to pursue, the labor federation recognized that Minnesota continues to have nation-leading disparities by race in access to governmental services. The state has historically underinvested in communities of color. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis has hit working people hard and exacerbated racial and economic disparities. Meanwhile, the wealthy have become even wealthier.
“Working Minnesotans have been tested over the last year like never before and are ready for a more just and equitable state for everyone, no exceptions,” said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy in announcing the 2021 agenda.
The Minnesota AFL-CIO’s agenda represents concrete steps we can take this year to advance racial and economic justice: tangible crisis relief like emergency paid leave, emergency and long-term affordable housing, and direct cash payments; maintaining and expanding workplace rights and safety; extending paid leave for all workers; ensuring those who have prospered are fairly taxed to fund Minnesotans’ needs: and creating new union jobs & improving infrastructure.
“The Governor's budget and all the work that we're doing with the labor agenda is tied to equity,” said Education Minnesota Vice President Bernie Burnham, Co-Chair of the Minnesota AFL-CIO’s Committee on Racial and Economic Justice. “It hits all the things that are important as far as pushing equity and racial and economic justice for the citizens of Minnesota. I think Labor, we're the people that fight for people. It's the core of what we do. We want to ensure that our communities and our workers are able to live their life in the best way possible.”