Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Strike While the Weather’s Cold
We’ve heard of Striketober, but Strike…uary? Days after Minneapolis and St. Paul educators voted to authorize strikes, more than 200 food service workers with Minneapolis Public Schools announced plans for a March 2 strike vote of their own. In a statement, the members of SEIU Local 284 outline the issues, starting with the fact that as frontline workers in an ongoing pandemic, they’ve been toiling under an expired contract for almost two years. “I’ve worked here 30 years and I make right around $30,000 a year,” MPS food service worker Cynthia Gross said in Monday’s press release. “We’re not asking to be rich, but this is not OK.” Added Genna Deprey, food service coordinator, “During COVID we’ve served millions of meals to our students. Yet we have been waiting over a year and half to get a fair contract from the district. We are there for MPS students. But to be there, we are putting our own safety and the safety of our families on the line every day.” Results from the March 2 vote will be released that evening.
More Like Miller High PRICE…
…is what I said to myself while picking up a six pack of tallboys last week and learning the price tag had gone up above eight bucks. What gives? Well, a lot of things, according to this Star Tribune report. Liquor store sales spiked by about 25% from 2019 to 2021, and there haven’t been enough aluminum cans and glass bottles to package the extra volume. Packing prices went up, and, for a while, breweries ate the higher price tag. But as the supply chain continues to be FUBAR, with trucking and shipping routes totally tangled, prices aren’t going back down, and everyone from the big boys like Molson Coors to the little guys at Indeed Brewing have raised their prices as a result, here in Minnesota and beyond.
Minnesota Just Can’t Let No-Knock Warrants Go
Last week, House Democrats penned a bill that would put an end to no-knock warrants… though there’s room for exceptions. And both pro- and anti-no-knock advocates are saying those exceptions are stupid. Basically, police would be able to apply for a no-knock warrant in situations where they believe harm is imminent. People have been quick to point out, however, that this exception to the rule is redundant—police don’t even need a warrant when that is the case. In hostage, active shooter, or hot pursuit situations, police can enter without warrants or knocking. MinnPost has nice post up today with cops, lawyers, and professors explaining why this caveat in the bill is redundant or potentially necessary in rare circumstances.
Energy Bills Are Even More Terrifying This Winter
Minnesotans know that a January heating bill can be bigger and scarier than a credit card statement. That’s true now more than ever, as the cost of this very necessary utility has been skyrocketing the past year. In a warm month like July, you might be out $20. But in January, the average household paid $180 to CenterPoint Energy for heat, up from $110 in 2021. Why is this happening? When that deep freeze hit Texas in 2020, it caused natural gas prices to soar, and now Xcel and CenterPoint claim they need to pass that cost to you; last year CenterPoint added a 6.5% increase to its bills. The Minnesota Reformer has a handy article out today that breaks down rate increases and provides some resources if you’re falling behind on payments. And you’re not alone if you are struggling—roughly 10-13% percent of Xcel and CenterPoint customers have past due balances each month.
A Super Important Update
A few weeks ago we dove into an investigative piece on why Uptown Cub Foods no longer has shopping baskets. Answer: People stole all of them! This morning we got an update from a Racket reader that the baskets have been replaced. Folks, this is the kind of news that makes what we do worthwhile.