A coalition of Minnesota unions and non-profits rally in the state capitol rotunda. Education Minnesota, AFSCME, Minnesota School Employees Association, the Teamsters, Minnesota Nurses Association, MAPE, MN AFL-CIO, St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, SEIU and other labor organizations demonstrate for the right to form unions, have equitable pay,affordable health care, and quality schools.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter tells the rally that “Our progressive values are under attack. Right now we’re having to fight for some of our most basic rights.”
He says “our ability to speak up and protest when we say we don’t believe in the direction that something is going — even that is under attack.”
“When you try to silence the voices of protest, when you try to silence the voices of people of families of young people, of workers, when you try to silence the voices of Americans those voices only get louder. ”
He then tells about how he was turned away at the polls in Florida in 2000. He likened that moment to today.
“This is a moment that demands action. This is a moment that our children will ask us about, this is a moment our grandchildren will ask about. In the face of people trying to divide us, in the face of a national narrative that’s trying to convince us that we’re the problem — what did you do?”
Dennis Draughn is a social studies teacher at Apple Valley High School, Minnesota and member of the Minnesota Army National Guard. He told a crowd gathered for a rally at the Minnesota state capitol “As a soldier I know something about military weapons. And I know any plan to arm teachers to stop a man with an AR15 is foolish and dangerous. If you say otherwise you are not listening to veterans.”
“Don’t arm me with a gun. Arm me with a school councilor, a school nurse, a psychologist, a music teacher and a small classroom I can work with.”
Brett Ohnstad, Ramsey Co. corrections officer and Teamster 320 member says he’s a life-long Republican and believes in strong unions and a living wage. He is upset that Republicans are “threatening to take away my pension, my union, my future.”
He says he’s still a member of the Republican caucus because he wants a say in the party.
- St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter
- Mary Cathryn Ricker, vice president of the American Federation of Teachers and former president of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers
- Asad Aliweyd, executive director of the New American Development Center
- Emilia Gonzalez Avalos, executive director of NAVIGATE
- Car Salonek, policy and organizing director for OutFront Minnesota
- Chad Deley, small business owner, The Deley Group of American Income Life Insurance Company in Roseville
- Mary Falk, grandmother who works in the bookstore at Anoka Technical College and an AFSCME Council 5 member
- Dennis Draughn, social studies teacher at Apple Valley High School, member of the Minnesota Army National Guard and Education Minnesota.
- Verlena Bradley, teacher at Maxfield Elementary in St. Paul and Education Minnesota member
- Brett Ohnstad, a Ramsey County corrections officer and Teamster 320 member
- Deb Howze, a personal care attendant and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota member
Thank you to our legislative sponsors: