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Union membership in Minnesota has been declining for decades. How are unions changing to stay relevant?

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The facts remain that unions’ membership decline in Minnesota has been largely at the hands of automation, globalization, and a business climate that seeks to prevent workers from organizing more than in the past — things that don’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

Greta Kaul, MinnPost

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03/08/17 | The share of Minnesota employees who were members of unions has declined, from 23 percent in 1983 to 14 percent in 2016.

For a state with a major political party that includes “Labor” in its name, you might think Minnesota would be a haven for the union movement.

The DFL notwithstanding, that’s not necessarily the case: In the last three decades, the share of Minnesota employees who are members of a union has been on a slow, steady decline.

In 1983, 23 percent, or nearly a quarter of Minnesota employees were members of labor unions. Today, that number is down to about 14 percent, according to state-by-state breakdowns of Current Population Survey data from Unionstats, a website maintained by labor researchers at Georgia State and Trinity universities.

Greta Kaul is MinnPost's data reporter. 

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When Martin Luther King Came Out Against Vietnam

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Credit Matt Rota

 

It would be a mistake to read Dr. King’s speech as merely an antiwar statement. It reflected his widening worldview that chronic domestic poverty and military adventurism overseas infected the wealthiest nation on earth just as indelibly as did deep-rooted racism. It went to the heart of the multilayered social and political conflicts of the 1960s — and, like all great rhetoric, continues to speak to us today.

David J. Garrow, New York (NY) Times 

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https://static01.nyt.com/images/2017/04/04/opinion/04Garrow/04Garrow-master675.jpg The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at an antiwar demonstration in New York in April 1967, with Dr. Benjamin Spock to his right. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images  

April 4, 2017 | Fifty years ago today — and one year to the day before his assassination — the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the most politically charged speech of his life at Riverside Church in Upper Manhattan. It was a blistering attack on the government’s conduct of the Vietnam War that, among other things, compared American tactics to those of the Nazis during World War II.

The speech drew widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum, including from this newspaper. Other civil rights leaders, who supported the war and sought to retain President Lyndon B. Johnson as a political ally, distanced themselves from Dr. King.

David J. Garrow is the author of “Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference” and the forthcoming “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama.”

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How the Neighborhood That Inspired “The Wire” Is Pulling Its Residents Out of Poverty

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Lionel Terrell, who has struggled to find work due to a criminal record, is employed as part of the Clean & Green Landscaping program operated by Bon Secours Hospital. Photo by Jay Mallin.

  • When large institutions like universities and hospitals agree to hire and spend locally, they can transform neighborhoods hardest hit by poverty and unemployment.
  • Big New Allies in the War on Poverty
  • Related: International Woman's Day: When women succeed, we all win 
  •  

Cecilia Garza & Araz Hachadourian, Yes! Magazine

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Mar 15, 2017 | It’s not often that a street intersection becomes as notorious as the corner of Fayette and Monroe in West Baltimore. During the ’80s and ’90s, the corner was ground zero for the city’s open-air drug market. Both a manifestation and symptom of Baltimore’s rising poverty, the corner became an inspiration for the television series The Wire.

A few blocks away from Fayette and Monroe is Bon Secours Hospital, built in 1919 by a group of Parisian nuns on a social mission. George Kleb was just a few years into his role as executive director of the affiliated Bon Secours Foundation when a problem was brought to his attention: The foundation had just invested $30 million in a hospital that both patients and doctors were scared to enter.

Cecilia Garza & Araz Hachadourian: Cecilia is a writer and communications professional at Social Venture Partners. She has received six awards for her work in local newswriting. Araz is a regular contributor to YES! 

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In solidarity, 

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International Woman's Day: When women succeed, we all win, Facebook / #SheMeansBusiness 

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  • When women do better, economies do better. That’s why Facebook is celebrating women who have built and run businesses, and delivering resources to help those who might one day do so themselves.
  • Because the next successful entrepreneur could be anyone. She could even be you.

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Trump’s Assault on Immigrants Will Seriously Damage the Economy

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(Reuters / Brian Snyder; Phelan M. Ebenhack via AP; AP Photo / Charlie Riedel, Bryan Cox; Reuters / Stephanie Keith; Reuters / Jose Luis Gonzalez)

  • The key sectors in which we can expect growth are dependent on immigrant labor.
  • Related: The Positive Effects of Sanctuary Policies on Crime and the Economy

Herman Schwartz, the Nation

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/INS%20Visa%20Approval%20Stamp.jpg  April 3, 2017 | President Trump has promised to add millions of “good jobs” to the US economy and to raise the gross domestic product by more than 4 percent annually, at one point asserting: “I think we can do better than that”—as much as 6 percent. “This is the most pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-family plan put forth in the history of our country,” he proclaimed.

At the same time, the president has vowed to deport up to 3 million undocumented immigrants and to curtail future entries, branding immigrants as “gang members,” “drug dealers,” and “bad hombres.” After his January 27 travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries was blocked by the courts, Trump devised a toned-down version applied to six of them—even though his own Department of Homeland Security has concluded that “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorism.”

Herman Schwartz, a professor of law at the American University, is the author of Right Wing Justice: The Conservative Campaign to Take Over the Courts (2004) and editor of The Rehnquist Court (2002), based on an October 9, 2000, special issue of the Nation.

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This organization can be converted overnight into a far more powerful voice and higher achieving project. "Significant" participation by our readership is what is and has been lacking for far too long.

I have to get you on board. We don't need people to give more, we need more people to give.

Time has come.

In earnest,

Dave & the Crew


The Positive Effects of Sanctuary Policies on Crime and the Economy, Tom K. Wong, Center for American Progress

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  • The Data Are Clear: Sanctuary Counties See Lower Crime Rates and Stronger Economies
  • Related: Special Project | Trump's Sanctuary Cities Plan is Straight Out of Breitbart, Radical Right Playbook
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A man traveled cross-country to interview homeless people. This is what he learned.

  • "I’m a very sad man now that she’s gone," Leroy explained. He'd been at his wife's side the moment she died of a heart attack. "I wish I could have saved her."
  • Related: 10 things everyone should know about what it’s really like to live on the streets

Robbie Couch, Upworthy

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March 9, 2017 | Leroy, a U.S. veteran, said he'd been doing well staying sober up until that tragedy struck a few months ago. Now he's back on the streets of New Orleans, once again battling alcoholism and homelessness.

Leroy, a U.S. veteran, said he'd been doing well staying sober up until that tragedy struck a few months ago. Now he's back on the streets of New Orleans, once again battling alcoholism and homelessness.

"I don’t have anything from her, no pictures, nothing," he said. "[Her] landlord set everything out on the sidewalk and thieves took it all."

Robbie Couch <http://www.upworthy.com/robbie-couch>: I'm a wandering writer with Michigan roots, an irrational fear of birds, and the belief that the world is slowly becoming a better place. You’ll probably spot my name next to stories about LGBTQ news and pop culture happenings.

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Homeless%20Person%20on%20Street%20in%20Cold%20Weather.jpg 10 things everyone should know about what it’s really like to live on the streets, Evelyn Nieves, AlterNet  / Salon 

  • Since the recession, San Francisco's wealth gap has become a yawning chasm. The city's homeless tell their stories. 
  • Related: America Keeps People Poor On Purpose

 

 
 

Special Project | Welcome to the Revolution: Law and Order and the Last Great Strike in America ~ Ahmed White

 

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Described by University of California Press

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February 17, 2017 | Several weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency, millions of Americans have skipped work, walked off their jobs, or otherwise demonstrated in protest of his policies. Many others are planning to do so in the weeks ahead. For those of us who study strikes and protests, these developments are at once thrilling and portentous, particularly in light of the peculiar place that strikes occupy in our country’s history. For most of American history since the late Nineteenth Century, it was quite a normal thing for people to go out on strike. In 1937, for instance, over 7 percent of American workers went out on strike; in 1946, that number reached 10 percent. Even as recently as 1970, almost six million men and women spent some time out on strike. But recently strikes have been exceedingly uncommon with only a handful each year. Even most union members have never been on strike.

http://content.ucpress.edu/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/9780520285613.jpgWhy are strikes so uncommon? The reasons are complicated, but one important thing stands out. The strikes of the 1930s and 1940s, especially, were extremely effective. They built the modern labor movement, upheld the New Deal against reactionary attacks, and ensured the foundations of the postwar political system. But precisely because they were so effective, the strikes were the targets of relentless counterattack by powerful business interests and their allies in government. At first, the dominant response to strikes in this period was a rather simple and venerable one. Strikes were considered presumptively illegitimate and often met with naked force, only crudely justified by law. Put into practice, this approach left probably 200 workers dead in the 1930s alone. However, later in that decade, even as some of the most violent strikes were still unfolding, the approach to strikes was rebuilt around the notion that, while the right was guaranteed by federal law and the U.S. Constitution, it was far from absolute and had to yield if strikers were violent or coercive. Although superficially reasonable, the real import of this new approach was to make the kinds of strikes that promised to be effective also the most costly for strikers and most likely to be found unlawful. And not because only disorderly strikes could be effective, but because even the anticipation of coercion or violence on the part of strikers was enough to justify arresting them, firing them, enjoining their picket lines, and using lawful force against them. Nor was the fact that strikers might have been provoked to act in these ways much of an excuse. The most notable example of this new approach can be found in one of the most tragic episodes in the history of protest: the 1937 “Little Steel” Strike, in which steel companies and their allies killed at least sixteen strikers in order to break a strike which they had caused, and yet paid almost no penalty for doing so. So it was that the repression of strikes was brought in line with modern notions of law and order.

Ahmed White is a Professor of Law at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His scholarship centers on the intersection of labor and criminal law and on the concept of rule of law.

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