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Unionized Half Price Books Employees Get Fully Paid

Plus Hopkins students support trans classmate, MN GOP eats its own, and questioning a 'scooter accident' in today's Flyover news roundup.

Half Price Books

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

Half Price Books Update: Unions Work

Remember #StrikeTober? Back in late 2021—yes, October, to be exact—a newly revitalized labor movement was testing its power with a wave of strikes nationwide, a development that inspired non-union employees to themselves begin organizing. Among those newcomers to unionizing were employees at four Half Price Books locations in the Twin Cities. As Racket reported at the time, workers in those stores (Coon Rapids, St. Paul, St. Louis Park, and Roseville) were frustrated with layoffs and a lack of transparency from their bosses. 

Well, according to MPR, the effort has paid off. The union ratified its first contract last week, and it guarantees pay raises, increases in starting salaries, and job protections. The talks were contentious at times, leading to a two-day strike last summer. As Half Price Books employee Mitchell Pliego told MPR, “It’s not an easy fight, it wasn’t an easy win, that’s for sure.” But the wins that count aren’t always easy. 

Hopkins Students Rally Around Assaulted Trans Classmate

Students at Hopkins High School held a rally this morning in support of a fellow student who was assaulted last Thursday, Fox 9 reports. "She was targeted and attacked for being trans," the student’s father Mark Walztoni posted on Facebook, calling the attack a “hate crime.” "We have filed a report but so far no arrest has been made, despite the school's positive ID of the attackers and video evidence," his post went on. Waltzoni faulted the school for not calling an ambulance and for its delay in reporting the incident to the police. The ralliers want police to press charges, saying the identity of the attacker is known. Minnetonka police are investigating the attack as a hate crime, but they say that “details remain limited as the case was reported to police after school had ended for the day.” Nobody seems especially happy with how Hopkins High has handled this—except maybe the attacker.

GOP in Disarray!

One-time NBA hopeful, strip-club food aficionado, angry tweeter, and GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Royce White isn’t the only firebrand (to use a mild term) among Minnesota Republicans running for office this year. As Ana Radelat writes for MinnPost, an activist insurgency for whom the MN GOP is somehow too moderate is challenging both incumbents and candidates who have the backing of the official party apparatus. 

At the center of this movement is Action 4 Liberty, an organization headed up by former Shakopee state Rep. Erik Mortensen. You might remember Mortenson for holding a “Freedom Party” in defiance of Gov. Tim Walz’s Covid restrictions; he was so extreme the GOP excluded him for its caucus when he was in office. The org’s targets include “Globalist RINO Tom Emmer,” as their site refers to the GOP Whip, and they have deemed Rep. Michelle Fischbach, who seems certainly far-right enough, as “not a liberty-oriented candidate.” “We teach our supporters the importance of being politically feared,” Mortensen says. “Because if activists aren’t politically feared, they will not be politically respected.”

There Are So Many Ways Not to Say ‘Hit by a Car’

I learned the horrible news about Max Wilson this morning from a KARE 11 headline, which told me that the Lakeville teen would not recover from a “scooter accident.” What kind of accident could that be, I wondered? The story itself referred to “a scooter crash,” which was getting a little more specific. The story’s subhead stated that his scooter “collided with a vehicle,” but only one paragraph in did we get an accurate description of what happened. Wilson was “crossing 179th Street (County Road 9) around 3:15 p.m. in Lakeville when a vehicle traveling westbound struck the scooter.” OK, then! There we have it. 

Maybe you know about “cop tense,” the use of the passive voice (as in “police-involved shooting”) to absolve the police of any agency when something goes wrong. Well, cars are also beneficiaries of this grammatical oddity, as you can see from the descriptions above. Maybe it seems like I’m nitpicking here. A teenager is going to die—is that really the time to diagram sentences? Well, yes. It’s pretty gross how news sites plaster the faces of dead and injured young people across the internet after every accident. The least we could do is be direct and honest about what caused the accidents.

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