New York Times
When a Muslim doctor arrived in a rural Midwestern town, "it felt right." But that feeling began to change after the election of Donald Trump. Trump had won Lac qui Parle County, with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Nearly all of Minnesota outside the Twin Cities had voted for Trump, a surprising turn in a state known for producing some of the Democratic Party's most progressive leaders, including the nation's first Muslim congressman.
About 39,000 Minnesota workers suffer from wage theft each year, resulting in $11.9 million in wages owed, and that's only what goes reported. The union-backed Wage Theft Initiative proposes policy changes to give the state Department of Labor and Industry more enforcement tools and an increased budget.
Adjunct professors make $18,000 to $30,000 for the equivalent of full-time work; compared to tenure track professors, who earn $68,000 to $116,000 (plus benefits), according to the American Association of University Professors. Only three in 10 professors are tenured today, down from six in 10 in the 1970s. Recently, frustrations over the plight of adjuncts have boiled over in congressional hearings, online petitions and a two-day walkout at the University of Illinois.
Minnesota Pubic Radio
"After years and years of politics of gridlock or politics that was focused on protecting the wealthiest in the state, the upper income folks and tax cuts for the wealthy, we saw a session that was focused on working families." Jamie Gulley, president of Minnesota Service Employees International Union commented on recent victories for labor in the Minnesota state legislature. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) control of state government was responsible.
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The current political environment shows that activists must be flexible in choosing which political arenas are most open to their goals. Opportunities for state government to enact progressive economic measures are there for the taking, but are not being seized due to a lack of grassroots pressure that is connected to the exclusive focus on federal action.