Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Edina Starbucks Workers Win Their Union
Another one, as cunnilingus-averse musician DJ Khaled likes to say: The Starbucks at 5122 Edina Industrial Blvd. in Edina just became Minnesota’s fifth unionized Starbucks shop. The vote tally in the NLRB-overseen election? Nine to zip. The cafe’s 23 workers will now be card-carrying members of SEIU-affiliated Starbucks Workers United. “It’s amazing to see the collective voice of our store has finally been heard,” the union’s organizing committee said in a joint statement. “This isn’t just a win for us, but for all members of the working class to have the chance to be heard.” The national Starbucks unionization wave has hit nine Minnesota locations—five wins, two losses, one withdrawn, and one TBD.
Mpls Public Schools to Special Ed Kids: Just Stay Online
Minneapolis Public Schools are telling parents with special ed children that the in-person programs they rely on are moving online. This runs counter to what families had previously been told about summer programming and beyond. As many parents, teachers, and students have learned during lockdown, online education is one of the circles of hell. And for many kids and teens, particularly special needs students, it doesn’t work. “Basically, what you’re doing is handing off the responsibility to a family member on the other side of the computer,” Wendy Tucker, an attorney at the nonprofit Center for Learner Equity, tells Beth Hawkins for The 74. “I have real concerns about the legality of that.” Parents are saying this last-minute change could be devastating to kids’ educations. The loss of support also disproportionately hurts POC families; 80% of the impacted students are nonwhite. The school district is saying that it’s impossible to staff in-person programs for the time being. Meanwhile, schools in St. Paul and the suburbs have managed to increase hires and prep for their special ed support programs.
Bosses: They’re Creepy and Bad
Don’t believe us? Then draw your own conclusions from this locally angled New York Times deep-dive into how bosses, spooked by work-from-home agency among workers, are deploying increasingly invasive and punitive worker surveillance software. Two monstrous Minnesota-based healthcare firms, Allina Health and UnitedHealth, serve as the main punching bags in the piece, one that really should have been scooped by local outlets. “This literally killed morale,” Jessica Hornigm, a United Health social worker, told the Times. “I found myself really struggling to explain to all my team members, master’s-level clinicians, why we were counting their keystrokes.” The most galling anecdotes came from Allina hospice chaplains like Rev. Heather Thonvold. She and her colleagues have become tasked with scoring “productivity points,” which are less easy to come by when you’re darting across town to… provide comfort to the dying. “Do I see the patients who earn the points or do I see the patients who really need to be seen?” Thonvold said. Jesus Christ. In a stroke of design ingenuity, the NYT presents the story with annoying cyber-widgets that monitor your progress as you read. You should check out the entire thing.
Carter Proposes Rondo Reparations
It’s getting harder every day for Minneapolitans to preserve their false sense of superiority to St. Paul. Mayor Melvin Carter dealt another blow to our metropolitan ego this morning by proposing the creation of the Inheritance Fund, intended to assist low-income residents of the former Rondo neighborhood in becoming homeowners. Residents who earn under 60% of the area’s median income are already eligible for $40,000 grants; Carter wants to repurpose “existing affordable housing trust fund money for an additional $50,000 in fully forgivable down payment assistance,” KSTP reports. And if they stay in Rondo they’d get another $10,000. Seems like a fair way to an almost universally acknowledged racial injustice.
There’s a Storm Watch Tonight—a Geomagnetic Storm Watch
We’re talking about potential Aurora Borealis sightings, folks. The Space Weather Prediction Center is putting North America under a strong geomagnetic storm watch tonight, meaning it could get real pretty out there if you bother to look up. As always, northern Minnesota is going to have the best viewing spots, as there’s less light pollution up there. (Cook County even has a whole section, map, and blog on its official website.) However, clear skies in parts of southern Minnesota may also give you some cool views. While it might be an overcast night in the Twin Cities, you still could catch a glimpse between the clouds—if you can stay up late enough. (I have friends who say they’ve seen AB in St. Paul, but it’s usually between 3-4 a.m.) The watch continues tomorrow night, but is only tagged as a moderate potential for a space storm.