Skip to main content

Unprecedented Action & Unity in Minnesota!


I am so proud to be a part of this.

Image 20240305 163011 187 copy 1000

By Maria del Pilar Alvarez

I am so proud to be part of an unprecedented moment of action and unity in Minnesota! Let me tell you about it.

I'm a commercial janitor in Minneapolis united with my co-workers in SEIU Local 26—as a member union leader and organizer. Thousands of workers (union like me and non-union) and community activists (like renters, students, and climate activists) have been partnering closely together, making collective demands that fall under the categories of dignified jobs, well-supported schools, affordable stable housing, and clean air and water. But get this: we're also coordinating the timing of our labor and community actions.

For example, with my current union contract expiring, I was on ULP (unfair labor practice) strike with thousands of my co-workers. Meanwhile, within hours across town, thousands of nursing home workers, also with their union contract expiring, were also on ULP strike. Also striking and taking action: teachers, school workers, airport workers, security officers, and more!

Layered on top of that: marches and rallies advocating for community needs such as rent stabilization, reliable and frequent transit, and better mental health support in schools. I've been at actions of Unidos MN (a grassroots organization focusing on immigration, education, and climate justice), Centro De Trabajadores Unidos En La Lucha (a worker-led organization that educates and empowers workers), and Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia (a renter justice group).

It's an unprecedented compression of strikes and community actions demanding a healthier, more stable community! We're collectively fighting those who hoard wealth, exploit workers, and pollute the environment (like greedy bosses, landlords, and developers)—essentially “bargaining for the common good”—because here's the big vision:  We must see each other as human beings, to be valued and deserving of respect, not exploitation.

My oldest daughter, husband and I were born in Colombia, with our two youngest children born here in Minnesota. We're here for a better future for all of us, and we work very hard. We aren't worth more or less based on our backgrounds or occupations.

Our hard work keeps Minnesota going. Our entire state will be stronger when our families have access to union jobs, affordable housing, quality education, and clean parks and recreation that everyone needs to thrive.

Working Minnesotans are showing the entire country what kind of change is possible when we join together across our differences, unite our very connected struggles, and regard each other with value. #WinTogetherMN