FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. – The union faithful turned out by the thousands for the annual Labor Day Parade at the Minnesota State Fair. The parade has become the Twin Cities' premier celebration of the holiday since the demise of the annual Labor picnic in St. Paul.
The AFL-CIO building near the main entrance to the fairgrounds from Snelling Avenue has become an easy draw for attendees at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. A live band and a dozen kiosks draw the attention of passing fair-goers.
"We are out here today talking to people about fair scheduling for people who are in the retail industry," said Bree Halverson, State Director of Working America. "We talk to people who do not have the benefit of the union at a workplace and we want to make sure that people know that, right now, people in the retail industry are not getting stable or predictable schedules."
Halverson said her group is aiming more of their door-to-door campaign events to younger people and women. She said it is important that women get the same benefits that other workers are getting.
State AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson is heartened by a rise in union membership in 2013, compared to 2012.
"There was over 11,000 (more union workers) in 2013," said Knutson. "It came from a number of different places, a number of different sectors."
Labor organizers credit the rise in the minimum wage and the recent pro-union vote by state health care workers as factors in the state's labor success.