Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
400+ Regional Planned Parenthood Workers Just Unionized!
For over a year, around 400 workers operating 28 facilities in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska under the banner of Planned Parenthood North Central States have been organizing. Last month, when the U.S. Supreme Court endangered abortion rights by striking down Roe. vs. Wade, their already essential work became even more important. “Our right to provide this care is constantly under attack, and we can’t afford to lose dedicated, mission-driven abortion care providers to burnout and exhaustion,” Sadie Brewer, a St. Paul RN with PP, recently told Workday Minnesota. “Now more than ever, we need as much protection and security as possible, and a union is going to give us that.” The reproductive healthcare nonprofit could've simply recognized its unionizing workforce, but as we so often see with companies big and small, a worker election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board would be the final say. On Thursday, regional Planned Parenthood workers officially got their union: The affirmative vote was counted and revealed this afternoon, thus securing the labor victory. More than 90% of voters opted into the union, giving Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 435 new local members.
So, Did You Hear Dave Chappelle Is Town?
Dave Chappelle’s tour of Minneapolis is off to a rocky start. When First Avenue announced earlier this week that it would be hosting the comic's Wednesday show, the venue received a tidal wave of blowback. Five hours before the show, First Ave announced that Chappelle would be moving to the Varsity Theater for Wednesday's performance, where he was already scheduled for Thursday and Friday. “To staff, artists, and our community, we hear you and we are sorry,” begins First Ave’s official statement. “We know we must hold ourselves to the highest standards, and we know we let you down.” The cancelation made national headlines; over in Dinkytown, about 50 people showed up to protest as attendees formed a line that stretched on for three blocks.
So how was the show? Not enough razzle dazzle, according to the Strib’s Neal Justin, whose company paid around $350 for his ticket—an entry fee Justin took greater issue with than the contents of the comedian's set. Chappelle chain smoked and sipped tequila during his one-hour performance, during which he expressed disappointment in First Avenue’s handling of the situation. "I can see a transgender hit squad coming from a mile away," he told the crowd, per Justin. Other highlights from the review: "He chided a woman in the front row for wearing a mask, called monkeypox a 'gay disease,' and accused The Price Is Right of being racist.” Ha, ha?
Though Chappelle has been making transphobic jokes for at least 16 years, he most recently came under fire for The Closer, his Netflix special where he compares being trans to Rachel Dolezal pretending to be a different race, jokes about being “tricked” into admitting a trans woman was attractive, and proclaims that he is “Team Terf!”
Meet MN Reformer's Newest Reporter, Read His Good/Depressing Story
On Tuesday, ever so quietly, our buddies at the Minnesota Reformer revealed their newest hire: Christopher Ingraham, the ex-WaPo reporter who famously/infamously trashed Red Lake County... only to later move there himself! Ingraham will remain based outta Red Lake County, where he'll cover rural politics for the Reformer. In today's dispatch from the site, his second, he reveals yet another embarrassing racial disparity in Minnesota: The fact Black and Native residents are dying at dramatically higher rates from the raging opioid crisis. Specifically, from 2019 to 2020, Black Minnesotans were more than three times more likely to die from overdose deaths than white ones, according to new data from the CDC, while Native residents died at a rate of almost 11 times higher. Both figures represent worst-in-the-nation disparities. A record 1,286 Minnesotans died from drug overdoses in 2021—up 22% from the previous year, according the state's Department of Health. Worth noting: Non-college-educated U.S. whites are dying of so-called "deaths of despair"—overdoses, alcohol poisoning, suicide—at unprecedented rates in recent years, with some economists arguing the crushing material reality of late-stage capitalism is partially to blame. It's a bad country for almost everyone, it seems.
Yesterday, we shared a story about a cougar making its way around Shakopee. The rare sighting was even photographed by a teen on his way home from work Monday evening. Sadly, that big cat is most likely dead, as police have reported that a cougar was struck and killed by a car on Tuesday night near Savage. Bring Me the News has the deets, though we don’t recommend clicking on the story unless you are okay with an image of a dead cat. RIP, sweet buddy.