by David Kreisman | April 04, 2014
ST. PAUL – More than 1,000 members of AFSCME Council 5 rallied recently, filling the state Capitol and calling for a vitally needed minimum wage increase, expanded early childhood education, and better state infrastructure.
AFSCME members in Minnesota are fighting to raise the minimum wage to at least $9.50, which would give a typical low-wage parent an additional $1,300 per year.
“That modest raise is a big deal for kids,” said St. Louis County social worker Dennis Frazier. “If mom or dad gets a raise, kids eat better, they learn better, and they’re better prepared to succeed in school and in life.”
With 194,000 Minnesota children currently living in poverty, Frazier knows firsthand the struggles parents face to provide their children the best possible future.
“Children can’t vote, lobby, or speak for themselves,” he said. “That’s why we have to stand up for them. We’re here to make kids count at the Capitol.”
Amanda Sansness, a child care provider, said she was glad to be back rallying with her sisters and brothers.
“This is my first day on the Hill, but it was really empowering to be here last year, when we gained our right to vote,” she said. “It was nice to come back this year and see all of the AFSCME members still here to support us, and to let our legislators know we are still here, we are still fighting, and we want this union.”
Jill Mogensen, also a child care provider, said the challenges facing child care workers affect everyone in the state and we must remain united to succeed.
“Our voice alone, just by ourselves, is not very strong, it means a lot to have all providers join together, and have common goals,” she said. “And not just providers, but other people in the union, AFSCME members beyond us, who are supportive of it too, because child care affects everyone, it’s the future.”
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