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Planned Parenthood Takes a Page From the Starbucks Playbook

Plus U.S. Bank wants more $$, a human rights deal passes in Minneapolis, and a new park for St. Paul in today's Flyover.

1:53 PM CDT on March 31, 2023

Planned Parenthood

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Another Anti-Union Non-Profit?

Last summer, more than 400 regional Planned Parenthood workers at 28 facilities throughout Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska voted to unionize. It sounds like that was the easy part. For the Minnesota Reformer, Max Nesterak writes that Planned Parenthood has fired two members of the elected bargaining team. The remaining 11 bargaining team members received “final written warnings" from the healthcare company, which never expire, and let PP fire them for any future policy breach.

Workers and union leaders say it all stems from trumped-up misconduct claims, though there's a lot of messy business in there about abuse and bullying within the bargaining team. Either way, in the Reformer newsletter today, Nesterak notes that the nonprofit's tactics look an awful lot like the union-busting measures employed at giants like Starbucks and Amazon. Here's a timely link to our story from January on the reactions from outwardly "progressive" workplaces that are met with unionizing workers.

U.S. Bank Stadium Needs More Blood, er, Cash to Stay Healthy

When it’s not eating birds, U.S. Bank Stadium is hungry for additional money. An assessment released today estimates that the Vikings’ home is going to need to find $280 million over the next decade, including $48 million this year, to stay alive at its current level of functionality. "Is there sufficient money...? The answer to that is no," Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michael Vekich tells the Star Tribune, explaining that coming up with the funding will come down to collaborative efforts from the building operator, the Vikes, Gov. Tim Walz, and the legislature. The areas most in need of repair? The weather-impacted doors, the in-house TV system, an upper-level concession stand, and a $14-mil proposed reno to the audio-visual room. Also still in the works: a permanent fence to keep the hoi polloi out after hours and updated club rooms.

Minneapolis City Council Approves Human Rights Settlement

Minneapolis police can no longer pull over drivers because of broken tail lights or other mechanical issues. They can’t stop and frisk you because you smell like weed. And individual officers who do not intervene when they see another officer breaking the rules can be disciplined as severely as the rule-breaking cop. Those are just a few of changes implemented by the 144-page settlement agreement between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which was unanimously accepted by the Minneapolis City Council today. (It's unclear what would have happened if they hadn't voted in favor of the deal. So much about city government is unclear these days.) Weirdly, Mayor Jacob Frey struck a conciliatory tone with people who do not think police should have to follow rules, saying "We are asking you to stick with us" even when there's an uptick in crime. Council Member Jeremiah Ellison spoke more to the point, saying, "While this document will do us a lot of good, it's hard for me to say I'm proud of this document because it's a reflection of how wrong things have gone." 

St. Paul’s Pedro Park to Get an Adorable Update

New and improved public spaces are always a win to us, as the Twin Cities can often seem averse to humans congregating (unless it’s, you know, of the church variety). So we were excited to see the proposed plan to make Pedro Park a friendly hangout spot for people in downtown St. Paul. The park, located at 10th St. E. and Robert St. N., is currently fenced off; the city-owned Public Safety Annex awaits demolition sometime this month and some construction in the area is set to begin this summer. If the preferred proposal gets greenlit, the space will morph into a park that includes a splash pad, a pickleball court, a bee-friendly garden, open and shaded seating, and public art. Pretty sweet! You can check out more drawings of the hopeful renovation here.

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