Skip to Content
News

Restaurants: We’re Just Fine With Lax Labor Law Enforcement

Plus mail carrier attacks are up, rockets on the Iron Range, and All of Minneapolis's 2023 postmortem in today's Flyover news roundup.

1:58 PM CST on January 16, 2024

Dan Smedley via Unsplash|

Was this photo taken in New York City and not Minneapolis? We’ll never tell!

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

Who's Afraid of the LSB?

If you subscribe to Axios Twin Cities, maybe you've noticed a new advertiser, "Save Local Restaurants," has been appearing in a lot of newsletters. The campaign is part of what Susan Du at the Star Tribune calls a "blitz of digital ads and billboards across the city," and it comes from two national groups, the National Restaurant Association and the International Franchise Association, along with Hospitality Minnesota locally. Why the ad bombardment? Why now? Because these organizations are concerned about the proposal of a new Labor Standards Board, backed by labor unions and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, that would replace existing Workplace Advisory Committees.

Hm, OK, so... that doesn't sound so threatening. Does it? What's the LSB's deal? As Du explains, last year a group of local labor orgs put out a report that defined it as, "a policy body made of employers, employees and members of the public. The group would be able to convene additional boards specific to certain industries to investigate specific issues and recommend policy fixes."

Don't let your eyes glaze over!

Here comes the drama: The proposed LSB "has put the hospitality industry, for one, on edge," writes Adam Platt at Twin Cities Business, who adds that the current Workplace Advisory Committees are widely known to be "ineffectual." David Benowitz of Craft & Crew Hospitality, which operates six restaurants in the metro including two in Minneapolis, wrote an op-ed for the Strib last month in which he asks what problems the board would address that aren't already being managed. Per Platt's report, fixed scheduling is one issue—employees who show up for work on slow days and then get cut don't get paid, which feels exploitative to labor groups but is standard industry practice—along with issues of wage theft and overtime pay. But business owners like Benowitz feel the LSB would ell-ess-be an additional burden, and another hurdle to doing business in Minneapolis versus Hopkins or Saint Louis Park.

We'll no doubt hear more about this one: Frey says the legwork in setting up the board could begin as soon as next month.

For the Love of God, Stop Attacking Mail Carriers

Worsening financial woes, ongoing delivery issues: As if USPS workers don't have enough going on at the moment, why not add an increase in attacks on mail carriers to the mix? MinnPost's Mohamed Ibrahim has a story today that outlines how that jump in the number of violent attacks—there have been more than 2,000 nationwide since 2020, according to the National Association of Letter Carriers—is impacting local postal workers like Manon Wojack. “I used to always be on the overtime list,” Wojack, who's been delivering mail with the USPS for 23 years, tells Ibrahim. “But now, as things have been happening, I don’t really care to be out in the dark.” A little over a year ago, two men shot and killed on-duty mail carrier Aundre Cross in Milwaukee; in November, someone pulled a gun on one of Wojack's colleagues in Brooklyn Center. In response, postal workers are urging the USPS to hire more workers and implement additional safety measures, and they're asking federal prosecutors to try more attackers.

Rocket Launching on the Iron Range?

At a January 8 meeting of the Hoyt Lakes City Council, among complaints of sewer backups and pleas for residents to aid plowing efforts by removing free furniture from their boulevards, Dave Neville addressed the assembled crowd about something called the "Can-Am 5M Project." Jay Gabler at the Duluth News Tribune reports that Neville, president of Infinity Robotics in Savage, wants to see a spaceport built on the Iron Range, arguing that the area from Hoyt Lakes to Babbitt is the only remaining site from which the nation can launch a rocket to the moon or Mars. Along with his colleagues, he's working to build community support in a region he says is perfect for launch thanks to its expansive geography and existing industrial infrastructure. "If you think tourism's big now, wait until you get to see a candle light off," Neville told Gabler (who, anticipating our rube-ness, explains this is slang for a rocket launch).

Is the idea a little "far out"? You betcha. But Neville & Co. think a project like this is more realistic than ever before, and it would be kind of cool to watch a rocket launch out of a spaceport in an open-pit mine...

Can't Spell 'All of Minneapolis' Without L-O-L

Without further comment, please enjoy All Of Minneapolis's 2023 election recap:

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Racket

Drama at Mia: Controversial Termination, ‘Toxic’ Work Environment Allegations

Plus Dean Phillips campaign gets deeply weird, leaked ShotSpotter intel, and how's Lindell holding it together in today's Flyover news roundup.

‘There Is No Room for Hiding’: How Krump Created a Dance Community in Minnesota

The L.A.-born dance style, built around communal support, has a home in Minnesota.

February 23, 2024

Freeloader Friday: 52 Free Things To Do This Weekend

Book sales! A Black-owned business market!

February 23, 2024

Folks… He’s Running

Plus 'The Daily Show' visits Duluth, Japanese burgers, and violent beer in today's Flyover news roundup.