We are living in an increasingly smoky and sweltering country in which migrant farmhands, delivery people, and construction employees are not given water and shade breaks despite record-breaking temperatures “because they are considered expendable,” as a recent article in the Guardian put it. In the extreme heat of July, the Texas governor signed legislation that “blocks local governments from enforcing legislation clashing with existing state law,” according to The Hill, such as local laws that mandate shade and water breaks for outdoor workers.*
Why would Americans support a system that does not protect all of the people who live and work here?
The people featured in this issue are supporting urban laborers, rural workers, and an incarcerated workforce. We hear from researchers about pay equity, and about why labor organizers support single-payer health care.
One writer featured this month reached out through the mail to share what it is like gaining employment while incarcerated.
At the 22nd Century Congress conference in June, Jessica Rohloff heard my comments about our Hometown Values & Vision series in Greater Minnesota towns. She passed me a note, we connected, and she offered a wonderfully written essay about her experience as a rural organizer.
I learned a lot from my conversation with Veronica Mendez Moore of CTUL about the prevalence of wage theft, why corporations need to be accountable for the work practices of subcontractors they hire, and the value of unions. As she told me, “We build campaigns that target the few people and companies that are [smothering] the wider economy. That means we need to shift rules by going to the top, which means we have to be big on the bottom.”
[* Editor’s note: the original wording here was “signed legislation that prohibits laws.” A letter writer suggested we clarify the nuance.]
An Honest Note About This Magazine
Since 1985, we have been freely accessible in the Twin Cities and a few locations in Greater Minnesota. To meet the demand at our 550 distribution sites, and to expand statewide, we could print far more than 20,000 magazines each month, and feature more writers. But we do not have the budget. In fact, we are struggling to afford printing next month’s issue at all.
Loyal advertisers who have been with us for decades are retiring. New ones are stepping up, but not enough to support rising costs. Our bank loan interest rate has gone from 5 to 11.25 percent in two years. Since 2018, our paper and shipping costs have gone up by 5 percent, despite dropping our page count significantly. Our payroll taxes and benefits are up 18 percent.
Newsletter readers responded with great generosity in July to help us make the stretch after a staff sales person left for higher-paying work. But logically, the business model we have is no longer sustainable.
So, this is a serious appeal: We need to build a base of membership to support the stories we do and to continue to make them available in print. We are proud of being the longest continuously run feminist publication in the country, and would like to keep it that way. We also need to continue to co-create and market our online Changemakers Alliance series for a statewide audience.
Some of you have already contributed, and we will be in touch about how your generous dollars could be applied to this membership if you choose.
If you have not yet supported this work, or want to increase your contribution, please do so now. The new “Be a Badass” community has two options for membership — one is tax deductible — with special perks. See our back-page ad.
Together we can continue to create and share unique content from storytellers statewide.