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Season 4, Episode 235

Report: contractors taking advantage of workers on public projects

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Jake Schwitzer

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Executive Director of North Star Policy Action, Jake Schwitzer, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to talk about the organization's efforts to help the working class people of Minnesota. Schwitzer also discussed a joint report with LIUNA Minnesota and North Dakota that highlights contractors being awarded with a history of exploiting workers on housing projects in Minnesota.

North Star Policy Action is a think tank organization in Minnesota. They focus on are the research and communication with the working-class people in the state. They try to find the best policies available that can be introduced to assist the working-class people in Minnesota. The think tank partners with LIUNA Minnesota and North Dakota to recognize and address possible issues for the working-class members of the LIUNA workforce.

Together with LIUNA Minnesota and North Dakota’s Research Manager, Lucas Franco, Schwitzer released a report on the exploitation of affordable housing construction in Minnesota. There is an ongoing severe housing crisis in the region. As a way to assist, state legislators have begun to pass laws to assist in the construction of affordable housing. One issue found in the report was that there was nearly $84 million of public funding going to contractors who aren’t working with unions and have been known to abuse workers. The report puts these contractors under scrutiny, and hope that the government will address the issues, create new protections for workers and ensure some of the work goes to local union contractors.

The combined efforts of the organizations has created a push for legislation to be passed in the next Minnesota legislative session  However, the most ideal situation would be to see a national resolution passed, Schwitzer said. There are plans to take the fight to the national level, and spend time working with members of Congress to get legislation introduced that will prevent public funding to go to work without worker protections.

Hear more on the issues and abuses found by Schwitzer by listening to the show above.


America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.

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