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Kim’s Union Wins!

Plus let's help Minneapolis Voices, a movie theater is reborn, and Bigfoot = Minnesotan in today's Flyover news roundup.


Newly unionized Kim’s workers pose after hearing the results of yesterday’s vote.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

Labor Links: Kim's Union Wins, Layoffs at MNHS, and More

Congrats to the freshly unionized workforce at Kim’s, the Uptown restaurant owned by James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Ann Kim. Kim, who wouldn’t address the press yet expressed her anti-union sentiments via leaked messages, saw 65% of workers who participated in a Nation Labor Relations Board election Thursday vote in the affirmative, thus certifying their 60ish-member bargaining unit. This result came “despite a persistent anti-union campaign by the employer to encourage a ‘no’ vote,” according to a press release from hospitality union Unite Here Local 17. “I’ve been devoted to hospitality for 20 years, I felt it was time I got some devotion back,” adds bartender/server Kaylee Murphy. “Kim’s being a union restaurant is such a benefit to Uptown.” Up next: The oft-agonizing process of hammering out a first contract. 

Speaking of initial bargaining dragging on!

We cataloged the long fight the new Minnesota Historical Society Workers Union endured for its first contract, which culminated early last year with a deal. This week the company axed seven workers (five union, two supervisors), and reportedly gave them all just three days notice. “Management declared targeted layoffs of five bargaining unit members, three of which were union organizers and activists,” union president Colin Dunn tells Racket. “Most of these folks have worked for MNHS for decades. They also laid off two union members back in April… 'death by a thousand cuts' seems to be the theme here." An HR suit with MNHS told Bring Me the News the layoffs were intended to "rightsize our organization and address a structural deficit." The MNHS Workers Union held a solidarity rally outside of the Minnesota History Center earlier this morning. 

Elsewhere in the wide world of hyper-local labor...

This week the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry smacked Amazon with an itty-bitty $10,500 fine over allegations of unsafe working conditions at the mega-retailer's Shakopee fulfillment center; and 94% of 300+ Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board workers have voted to authorize a strike, which could come as early as next week. You can read more about both of those stories in Max Nesterak's latest Break Room column at Minnesota Reformer. 

Help Minneapolis Voices Survive and Thrive

Our buds over at Minneapolis Voices are setting ambitious goals for the summer, and we’re here to give ‘em a shout out in hopes of making that happen. “We are bringing in less money from advertisers than we were at this point last June,” writes co-founder Charlie Rybak. “That leaves us in a precarious position, and it means that we have to shift our focus and set a goal around what we need to keep going—we need to have 1,000 paying members by the end of this summer.” 

Founded in 2021, Southwest Voices launched a few months after Racket, covering neighborhood news in south Minneapolis. Last year they added a second publication, Downtown Voices, to their roster. Here's a few highlights of what they get up to: There's Brianna Kelly’s many retail/restaurant/real estate scoops; this story on a horrifically bad landlord from H. Jiahong Pan; Brian Martucci does great stuff on the urbanism beat; and how could we not love this incredibly sweet story from Melodie Hoffman about a group of children who campaigned for a Sebastian Joe’s in their ‘hood and won. You can find more info on how to subscribe here.

Remember the Alamo?

The Alamo Drafthouse in Woodbury, that is. The theater shut down earlier this month (along with five theaters in the Dallas area) when the franchise owner, Two Is One, One Is None, LLC, entered bankruptcy. The national Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain almost immediately announced that they were taking steps to reopen the theaters, and they seem poised to actually make that happen. Today they announced that their purchase of the Woodbury theater was final, offered to make good to season pass holders and those in need of ticket refunds, and promised to allow laid off employees a first shot at their old jobs. “Those who are rehired will receive a more robust benefits plan with immediate eligibility, including access to daily pay, substantial 401k match, paid medical leave, accrued PTO and free mental health services,” the company said. Alamo had a rough few years of it a while back, but the chain emerged from Chapter 11 in 2021 and was purchased by Sony Pictures on June 12. So, a happy ending? Even better: a happy not-ending.

Bigfoot Is One of Us?

Bigfoot. According to cryptid enthusiasts he’s out there, somewhere, walking around and doing stuff. While sightings and evidence is pretty sparse, according to local lore Remer, Minnesota, a small town up north with a population of 391, is a Bigfoot hotspot, with regular sightings going back to the early 1900s. "I trademarked the town as the 'Home of Bigfoot,'” Marc Ruyak tells John Lauritsen at WCCO. “And we began to take away the stigma." Next came big business with Bigfoot Days, a citywide festival that brings in thousands of visitors for two days of BBQs, live music, merch sales, meat raffles, and a Bigfoot storytelling night where things sometimes get… intense. "We've had 70- to 80-year-old people who have never told their story in their whole life stand up and start crying when they tell this story that happened,” says Ruyak. This year’s big Bigfoot party is next weekend, July 5-6.

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