|Teamsters Local 320 Secretary Treasurer Brian Aldes
On Monday, September 17, 2018, Teamsters Local 320 set up an informational picket to protest the Center of the American Experiment’s Celebration of Janus v. AFSCME featuring Mark Janus and Rebecca Friedrichs.
The Center of the American Experiment is a right-wing think tank in Minnesota that was set up by the Koch brothers to undermine workers’ rights and retirement security.
Mark Janus was the plaintiff in the major federal lawsuit, Janus v. AFSCME, where the United States Supreme Court effectively ended the right of public sector labor unions to charge “fair share,” or agency fees to non-members for the cost of representation and contract administration, but unions must continue to represent non-members under their collective bargaining agreements.
Rebecca Friedrichs was the plaintiff in the failed federal lawsuit, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which attempted to produce the same result as Janus v. AFSCME. Friedrichs is now hawking her book, Standing Up to Goliath: Battling State and National Teachers’ Unions.
Over 100 union members and their supporters converged on the Minneapolis Hilton to protest the event and picket outside the hotel.
“Minneapolis is a union town and Minnesota is a union state,” said Teamsters Local 320 Secretary Treasurer Brian Aldes while addressing the crowd. “We’re here to keep it that way!”
The pickets were the length of a city block stretching from one end of the hotel to the other. Pickets were chanting; "Who are we? Union!” and “What’s disgusting? Union busting!”
ATU Local 1005 President Ryan Timlin also addressed the group to discuss the importance of collective action and how every right that workers enjoy today was fought for by union workers of the past.
Jasmine Laducer-Kitto from SEIU Healthcare described how the Center of the American Experiment has attacked professional care givers who are union by pursuing frivolous lawsuits for decertification and using misinformation to confuse and frustrate workers.
Hilton employees who are union members wore buttons while working the event that read: Union Proud.
Aldes ended the picket by reminding the picketers how important the upcoming election is:
“Groups like the Center of the American Experiment are targeting working men and women. The Janus decision is just one of many attacks that these anti-union groups are pushing forward. The most important thing to do now is to vote on November 6 for Tim Walz for governor! Like they say, it’s WALZ or WISCONSIN! Let’s chose Walz in November!”