Fight for Worker Voice

Fighting for Worker Voice

Systemic imbalances of power in the workplace lead to rampant wage theft and other workplace rights violations, disproportionately impacting women, people of color and immigrants. From Minneapolis & St. Paul City Halls to the Minnesota State Capital, CTUL members are fighting to build a worker-driven model of enforcement for workers’ rights that ensures a voice for workers in the workplace.

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“It gives us hope because we’re being taken seriously,” said Nely Bautista, a wage theft victim and member of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha, a labor advocacy group in Minneapolis. “This change comes from us, the workers. I’m happy because this is going to benefit a lot of people. We are going to be able to work more confidently with the knowledge that the law protects us.” “Lawmakers to vote to make wage theft a felony crime in Minnesota,” Stephen Montemayor, Star Tribune, May 23, 2019.

After years of CTUL members fighting for stronger worker protections, Minnesota will now have one of the strongest anti-wage theft laws in the country! Some of the highlights include:

  • A criminal statute for wage theft;
  • Stronger authority for the MN Department of Labor and Industry & the Attorney General;
  • Civil penalties for retaliation against workers who stand up for their rights, and
  • $3 million in additional resources for the Department of Labor.

This is a step forward for working people and for increased equity in the state of Minnesota. Immigrants, people of color, and women are all impacted disproportionately by wage theft – we are shifting resources to enforce the laws that protect us.

Congratulations to all who worked on this, especially Representative Tim Mahoney, Attorney General Keith Ellison, Commissioner Nancy Leppink, Restaurant Organizing Committee, MN AFL-CIO, North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, SEIU State Council, SEIU Healthcare MN, and Labor Education Service



Despues de años lucha liderado por miembros de CTUL, Minnesota tendrá uno de las leyes mas fuertes anti-robo de salario en todo el país! Algunos de los detalles sobresalientes incluyen:

  • Pena criminal para robo de salario;
  • Autoridad mas fuerte para el Departamento de Trabajo de Minnesota y el Abogado General;
  • Pena civil para represalia contra trabajadores que defienden sus derechos; y
  • $3 millones en fondos adicionales para el Departamento de Trabajo.

Esto es un paso adelante para la gente trabajadora y para un Minnesota con mas igualdad. Inmigrantes, personas de color, y mujeres son afectados mas por robo de salario – y estamos moviendo recursos para aplicar las leyes que nos protegen.

Felicidades a todos que trabajaron en esto, especialmente Representative Tim Mahoney, Attorney General Keith Ellison, Commissioner Nancy Leppink, Restaurant Organizing Committee, MN AFL-CIO, North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, SEIU State Council, SEIU Healthcare MN, y Labor Education Service!

Job Openings: Construction & Defensores Lead Organizer positions



Construction Worker Lead Organizer

CTUL is hiring for a Lead Organizer position in our Construction campaign. Click here for more information.

Defensores Lead Organizer

CTUL seeks to hire a Lead Organizer to lead the team fighting wage theft in the Twin Cities metro area. Click here for more information.

Organizador Principal de Construction

CTUL esta buscando un Organizador Principal para nuestra Campaña de Construccion. Cliquean aqui para mas informacion.

Organizador Principal de Defensores

CTUL esta buscando un Organizador Principal para liderar el equipo que lucha contra el robo de salario en el area del metro de los Twin Cities. Cliquean aqui para mas informacion.

Wage Theft Round Table

Who’s Going to #StopWageTheft?


On Tuesday, April 30, CTUL members were joined by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Nancy Leppink, and Minnesota Representative Tim Mahoney for a Wage Theft Roundtable discussion.

Las Posadas

Las Posadas: March for Dignity and Respect

December 18, 2018

CTUL members who work in construction have been working with national and local experts to create a new program that will end labor trafficking and other serious violations of workers’ rights in construction: Building Dignity and Respect Standards Council (BDC). On December 18, CTUL members and allies marched down Lake Street for Las Posadas March as part of our ongoing campaign calling on construction Developers to work with BDC to end labor trafficking, wage theft, and other serious abuses in the construction industry.

Click here for a report on the march.

We Won $15!

We Won $15!

Today we celebrate our victory on passing $15 minimum wage in the City of Saint Paul. This victory was the result of the continued efforts of compassionate, brave, and relentless low wage workers, who believe a better world is at the reach of our hands.  

All workers deserve to take care of their needs and enjoy time with their families and the important people in their lives, and because of that, they deserve a living wage. CTUL members and fast-food workers launched this fight in the Twin Cities four years ago, and have been on the front lines taking risks and building power by striking, speak their truth, organizing their co-workers, participating in city committees, and everything in-between to set a new standard in Saint Paul. Every day we are told that we can’t change the world, we are told that we don’t hold power and we can’t win, but today is a different day because through our organizing we made $15 reality!

We are taking this momentum and pushing for more to make St. Paul’s minimum wage the strongest it can be. We commit to spreading through the city to educate workers on their newly won rights and work with the city to develop strong enforcement mechanisms. We also find it troubling that City Council passed a last-minute corporate giveaway by allowing franchises to be classified as small businesses, putting many workers and primarily workers of color on a slow track to $15.

Other cities who have passed $15 like Seattle and Minneapolis classify franchised businesses as large businesses because of the many benefits that they receive from the corporate franchisor that small businesses can’t rely on. Workers deserve to be heard regarding their working conditions at franchises and now that we won $15 we know we can win more. We are committed to working with the City of Saint Paul beginning in January 2019 to ensure the $15 minimum wage has the greatest impact possible.

The workers of Saint Paul achieved a historic victory, and we want to make sure we mention that the ordinance is not exactly what we demanded. However, it is a major win for worker’s rights, and we will continue to build power to make sure we are one step closer to make Saint Paul a more equitable place to live and work. Together, the workers of the Twin Cities decide our future!

Twin Cities Contractor Charged with Human Trafficking, Other Charges

Twin Cities Contractor Charged with Human Trafficking, Other Charges

Case involves construction projects led by large Developers and General Contractors, including Reuter Walton and Lennar

Read Workers’ Response to the Labor Trafficking case here

Click here for CTUL’s Press Release

Press Coverage:

CTUL receives Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award

CTUL receives Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award














On June 20, 2018, CTUL will receive the 2018 Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award, presented

by Jobs with Justice in recognition of our work to transform the retail janitorial industry in the

Twin Cities metro area. U.S. Representative Keith Ellison will present CTUL members with

the award in Washington D.C.

We are honored to receive an award given in the memory of Eleanor Roosevelt, a tireless

advocate for the rights of workers, who was one of the driving forces that moved the 1948

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declares that “Everyone who works has the

right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence

worthy of human dignity.”  Unfortunately, her dream of universal human rights is far from a

reality, and it is up to us to continue the fight.

Over the last decade, CTUL has been fighting to make the Twin Cities metro area a place where

workers can live and work with dignity, a place that’s more equitable and just for everyone,

and where everyone has the opportunity to live their best lives.

However, in today’s economy, the wealthiest 0.1% have placed the burdens and risks of the economy

on poor and marginalized communities. The wealthiest 15 companies in Minnesota have accumulated

over $1 trillion in assets. If one were to take just 10% of that wealth, one could double to wages of

every single minimum wage worker in the state of Minnesota for 20 years.

This has very real and violent consequences on our lives. Some of these consequences are immediate,

such as the thousands of non-union construction workers who are hurt in horrific workplace accidents

due to the negligence of subcontracted companies that are trying to cut corners in order to win bids on

multi-million dollar projects. While developers walk away with millions in profits, injured workers are

thrown out like old and broken tools. Similar chains of profit at the cost of severe exploitation can be seen

in many other low-wage

industries. Other consequences play out over decades. The constant drip of poverty and exploitation means

that the poorest Minnesotans live on average 8 years less than the wealthiest Minnesotans.

When people from marginalized communities begin to view themselves as leaders, and when they make the

connection between their every day working conditions and the 0.1% who run the economy, change is inevitable.

Through the success of the retail janitorial campaign, we estimate that an additional $5.6 million per year is shifted

from the 0.1% and is invested in the poorest communities in the Twin Cities metro area. But this is not enough.

We invite you to join us in continuing the build the legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt, where we all enjoy the right to

basic human dignity. This will not happen without a powerful movement led by marginalized communities that

focuses attention on the 0.1% who drive the economy. We need to demand a place at the table in deciding not just

working conditions, but ultimately in deciding how our economy works.