Living wages and fair treatment for workers is a key part of economic justice, and the Citizens Federation has worked hard on this issue. We played a key role in creating Duluth’s Living Wage Ordinance in 1997, and helped get a Card Check Ordinance passed in 2006 so that workers at subsidized hotels and restaurants would have an easier time to create unions for themselves.
Our work on corporate subsidies, starting in 2005, created accountability for job creation that is promised in exchange for business subsidies. We achieved strong accountability on this for Duluth, and helped win the strongest state law in the country for these subsidies in 1999.
The Citizens Fed has directly helped workers in their contract battles and labor disputes. We helped locked out Steel Workers at the MEI foundry get back to the bargaining table in 2000, and our public support helped HERE Local 99 (Now Workers United Local 99) get its first-even living wage contracts at two hotels in Duluth in 2001. We regularly work hand in hand with local unions as allies on a number of issues, and we’re making alliances with Twin Cities and statewide unions as well. The Duluth Central Labor Body, and some union locals, are affiliated organizations with the Citizens Fed.
We are also doing our part to help explain and promote the Employee Free Choice Act, which would enable unions to be formed by card check procedures if the workers want to. This would result in many more people forming unions, since the existing National Labor Relations Board process makes it easy for employers to block their workers from forming unions.