Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Lindahl Legally Locking Down Likeness
Is omnipresent billboard presence Kris Lindahl—the strange-tweetin’, doomed-Zillow-partnerin’, lake-lovin’ local real estate tycoon—in the process of trademarking his signature wingspan gesture? Incredibly, yes. Yes he is.
“We’re excited about applying to register the ‘arms out’ symbol as a trademark for our real estate and related services,” Lindahl tells Racket in a statement. “Our big goal here is to protect our brand for our team and our clients. I want to be clear that this is not about us trying to stop the general public from holding their arms out or doing the pose. We welcome that. Our goal is to prevent consumer confusion and stop industry copycats from trading on our brand. The pose has become iconic. People see it and instantly associate it with Kris Lindahl Real Estate. It’s a way for agents in our company to market and brand themselves, and it’s a big benefit for the agents that join Kris Lindahl Real Estate and for our customers who benefit from our brand awareness. We want people looking to buy or sell a home with our team to know if they see that pose in an advertisement or on marketing materials, they are working with someone from Kris Lindahl Real Estate and will get the world-class experience we provide.”
What a time to be alive! H/T to the Twitter account Trademarks Are Magic, which spotted the following application working its way through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The hollow-eyed, maw-gaping rendering is… really something. Multiple readers have pointed out that Lindahl’s pose is similar to one made famous by Jesus Christ, the famously crucified Christian leader, though that’d only be a legal conflict if Christ also hustled real estate.
APM Reports Employees Still Don’t Know Their Fate
More than a month after Minnesota Public Radio’s shut-down of the APM Reports unit, employees still don’t know whose jobs are at risk. Members of the MPR News/APM Reports union told Racket earlier this month that almost three weeks after the May 26 announcement, MPR management had provided no information about the fate of former APM Reports employees. Another two weeks have gone by with no word from MPR brass, and today, the Minnesota Reformer’s Max Nesterak reports that the union as filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board as a result. Further complicating all of this: The MPR/APM union tweeted today that their current contract expires this week, and they’re attempting to negotiate a new one before July 1. “In May, the company announced it was disbanding @APMReports. That means high-impact investigative work like @IntheDarkAPM may be canceled,” union members explain later in the thread. “It’s been nearly 5 weeks, and management still hasn’t revealed its plans for the future of the programming and the journalists who make it.”
U.S. Supreme Court Takes on MOA’s $10 Rent Case
These days, the U.S. Supreme Court is busy destroying lives and ruling in favor of what they think their sky god wants. They will, however, be taking some time out to rule on a very special Sears vs. Mall of America ruling. In 1991, the Mall of America signed off on a bonkers lease to Sears Holdings Corp, offering them $10 a year rent for 100 years. But over the decades, Sears struggled to modernize and make money in a post catalog-in-the-mail world. It went bankrupt in 2018, and since 2019 the Mall of America space has remained unoccupied. Sears isn’t dead, however, and its new owners, Transform Holdco, believe that that ‘90s lease agreement should still be honored, as it was part of their purchase deal. Somewhere, from the heavens, the cursed Lake Street Kmart is looking down on us and smiling. Stay tuned to find out if lease agreements still have to be honored after a company declares bankruptcy. (Also, it’s unclear if Sears has been paying rent during this time, if not they owe MOA at least $40!)
Did the Downtown Trader Joe’s Just Begin Unionizing? (Spoiler: Yes.)
Did the Trader Joe’s at 721 S. Washington Ave. in Minneapolis just become the chain’s second-ever unionizing location, joining a western Massachusetts shop that made history earlier this month? We asked the national organizing group, Trader Joe’s United, via Twitter and email. Crickets. We asked Trader Joe’s corporate offices. Nada. We asked the person who posted the following video, which really seems to depict workers at the Minneapolis grocery store collectively banding together Tuesday:
Why won’t anyone talk to us!!
We called the Washington Ave. store at 8:50 p.m. last night, expecting that a non-management worker would pick up the phone 10 minutes before close. That, um, didn’t turn out to be the case. Here’s our tense, brief conversation:
Did workers at your shop just begin unionizing?
I can not chat with you, you’ll have to reach out to a crewmember unfortunately. Sorry. We don’t make comments on things like that.
Can you comment whether it happened or not?
We don’t make comments on things like that.
OK, any way to reach out to a crewmember?
You’ll have to look that up for yourself, I’m so sorry.
Thank you, bye.
Yup, have a good day.
Finally, moments ago, we reached out to Sheigh Freeberg, a local organizer with Unite Here! Local 17 and aspiring MN Senate 65 lawmaker. He says he attended yesterday’s “march on the boss” rally, and that workers told him they’ve filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board. Sure enough, that’s reflected in the NLRB database. Welcome to the freshly energized retail labor movement, TJ’s MPLS! We’re chatting with a worker tonight and will have a full story up tomorrow.