14 results for author: John Spiegelhoff


WHAT UNIONS HAVE DONE FOR ALL WORKERS

WHAT UNIONS HAVE DONE FOR ALL WORKERSBy John Spiegelhoff(Editor’s Note: John lost his life in a motorcycle accident in southwestern Minnesota. John was the Staff Representative for AFSCME Council 65. He also was the county chairman for Nobles County DFL. We re-print this article to remember John and to thank him for his dedicated work.)Most of us who reside in Minnesota are pretty humble people.  We do not like to brag or boast.  When we take care of each other and do good things for one another, we do not make a big deal of it.  It is just part of who we are. The American Labor movement has been taking care of workers for over ...

Income Inequality

“That is not fair!” How many times have we heard that from our children or perhaps at work? Human beings are hard wired with a sense of fairness-of what is right and what is wrong. Most people believe that they should be fairly compensated for the work that they do. Most workers believe that a Corporate Executive Officer (CEO) of a company should get a little more than the average worker since they run the company. But over the last sixty years, a little more has turned into a whole lot more and we should be very concerned about this.Since 1950, the ratio of CEO-to-worker pay has increased 1,000 percent according to data from Bloomberg ...

DEAR DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE

DEAR DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEEFirst, permit me to introduce myself. My name is John Spiegelhoff and I am a middle class voter in the Midwest. I think it is appropriate to inform you that I have voted Democratic since as long as I have been a registered voter. I have financially supported Democratic candidates mostly at the state and local levels. Since-really-all politics are local. Or so I have heard.So with that in mind, I wish to respond to your survey but not on the mind numbing pre-fill form that you sent me along with the obligatory “send us some money.”I would really like to support the Democratic Party on a national level ...

MESABI IRON RANGE STRIKE

By John SpiegelhoffNorthern Minnesota-circa 1905. Immigrant miners primarily from Finland, Italy and from Eastern Europe work twelve hours a day and seven days a week mining iron ore on the Mesabi Range for the Oliver Mining Company. The immigrants mostly do not speak English. The Oliver Mining Company pays them pennies for their work. The working conditions are dangerous: explosions, dust inhalation and falling rock. Debilitating injuries and death are common. There is no workers compensation. If you are injured and cannot work, you and your family starve. To add injury to insult, the company makes you buy your axe pick, your work clothes and ...

Three Cheers for Public Services

Three Cheers for Public ServicesWhen people woke up this morning our guess is that they paid little attention to their tax dollars hard at work. Every morning, we shower, brush our teeth and make our coffee with clean drinking water provided by our local government with public employees.Then hard working public workers leave their families early in the morning to plow our streets and highways so that we can get to work. Our tax dollars are hard at work. Public services work for our communities at a fair and reasonable cost.However, if our public services were privatized, a predictable result occurs: A Corporate Executive Officer (CEO) ...

UNIONS BUILT THE MIDDLE CLASS

UNIONS BUILT THE MIDDLE CLASSBy John SpiegelhoffThe 1950’s and 1960’s are considered a time of prosperity for our country. Workers were paid a good wage and our economy was booming. Corporate CEO’s earned just a little more than the workers. Our country manufactured goods right here in America and manufacturing jobs were plentiful. Companies took pride in their workforce. They knew a well-paid workforce with benefits and a pension benefitted the entire country. Most people considered themselves middle class.Now people are wondering: what happened to our middle class?Over the past forty years this is what happened. In 1954 ...

PREVAILING WAGE

PREVAILING WAGEBy John SpiegelhoffPrevailing wage is the minimum hourly wage employers must pay certain workers who work on construction projects where state dollars are used to fund the construction. The prevailing wage includes the employer's cost of benefits.Prevailing wage is used in any construction project funded in whole or in part by federal or state funds. For example, state-funded projects can be projects to construct highways, roads, wastewater treatment plants, public utilities, colleges, schools or park and recreation improvements. The prevailing wage for these publically financed projects also varies from county to county or ...

CHOOSE “WE” INSTEAD OF “ME”

CHOOSE “WE” INSTEAD OF “ME”By John SpiegelhoffPreamble to the U.S. Constitution:We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.I had a coach during high school that always said, “There is no I in TEAM.” He was a wise teacher. He knew that the only way to succeed was to play as a team - meaning individuals working as one for the common good and support...

Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)/Fast Track

Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)/Fast TrackBy John SpiegelhoffHave you ever gone to your local American car dealership and inquired where your car was made? You should probably pay attention as you will find that an American made car is not always made in America.Do you remember back in the 1990’s when the United States entered into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)? And the subsequent Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)? These trade agreements have not worked out well for American workers. American jobs went to Mexico. American workers were laid off and communities devastated. American companies, just to increase ...

Why We Need Labor Unions in Our Community

By John Spiegelhoff and Dale MoerkeWhat exactly is a Labor Union and why should I care about them? If you would ask a random person on the street you would get probably some interesting answers.Here is one textbook definition of a Labor Union: An association, combination, or organization of employees who band together to secure favorable wages, improved working conditions, and better work hours.But a Labor Union is much more than a textbook definition. Union members are your family members and your neighbors. They live in the same community as you. Union members are teachers, nurses, highway workers, factory workers and courthouse workers ...