A couple of years back Minnesota security officer John Vinje and his wife bought a little home in Bloomington, Minnesota.
“For whatever reason, she fell in love with this itty bitty house in Bloomington,” John says.
Bloomington is a nice town, a place where lots of folks would want to live. It offers urban living, lots of parks, and prosperity—thanks to a thriving retail and hospitality sector. There’s also a memorial to local hero Tom Burnett, a Bloomington native, who was among the 44 people killed on United Airlines Flight 93 during the September 11 terrorist attacks. John, a veteran of the United States Air Force, appreciates that.
They bought the house and moved in. John had his job. His wife had hers. They met their responsibilities, working hard and making house payments to USBank, which is headquartered in Minnesota. They were comfortable and well established.
Or so they thought.
“Due to a change in my wife’s work duties, she lost $2,000 a month in income,” John says.
Soon they were unable to make payments. They tried to work things out with USBank. “We tried to get a loan modification like you’re supposed to. USBank would say, ‘Yes, we’ll work with you.’ But they kept saying they never got our paperwork or that they lost it. We must have sent the stuff in like eight times. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, they were pursuing foreclosure.”
John and his wife lost their home to USBank—the nation’s fifth-largest commercial bank, which raked in $19.1 billion in revenue in 2011.
Why did they lose their home to USBank? “They can make more by foreclosing on you than by accepting your payments,” says John.
John and his wife are trying to get back on their feet. John is one of 6,000 Twin Cites janitors and security officers who are negotiating with their employers for the good jobs that our community needs to strengthen our economy and bolster a rising, thriving middle class.
Knowing that rebuilding the middle class is a task for all of us, John and his fellow security officers are joining together with members of community groups, faith-based groups, environmental groups, student groups, and labor groups under the banner of “Unlock Our Future” to open the doors of prosperity to all Minnesotans.
“If they keep this up, pretty soon there isn’t going to be a middle class,” says John. “We’re going to have ghost towns like during the Depression.”
But John will be taking to the streets with fellow Minnesotans, proposing an alternative version of the future. “Communities will benefit from the creation of good jobs because there wouldn’t be all these vacant, boarded-up homes. People will be able to spend more in the local community and we’ll be able to invest in infrastructure.”
A 13-year veteran in the security industry, Gene works at a building containing some very high-profile facilities. “There’s the Department of Motor Vehicles, Homeland Security, State Patrol, and the Attorney General’s office,” Gene says. “It’s a heavy-duty site.”
The 50-year old remembers a time in America when if you worked hard for a living, (more…)
It’s a good thing because James has a lot of responsibilities. He and his wife have been blessed with six children.“Five of them are still at home,” James says. “They’re great kids. My daughter plays basketball. My son plays football. And my other son is a dancer in a conservatory.”
Study after study shows that when children are involved in extra-curricular activities, they learn how to succeed—not just in sports or the arts, but in life. James will do whatever it takes to give his children a chance to succeed.
He and his wife have tried to save. “It’s been our struggle just to put five bucks away here and there,” James says. “But the ends just don’t meet so we end up using the money we save up.”
So James has been forced to resort to direct deposit advances at Wells Fargo—which has $1.4 trillion in assets. (more…)
I am sending this in response to the misinformation that the companies are sending officers, and I as a security officer want to make sure fellow officers have the facts. At least one company has begun to circulate intimidation letters to their officers, but I expect most of the companies at some point will be circulating letters with similar content. The statements from the reported company letter (more…)
Our bargaining committee unanimously recommends a YES vote.
Below are questions and answers about a strike over Unfair Labor Practices:
Which one do YOU call “Bargaining?” (please choose one)
1) A company only offers us 5 dates to negotiate since our contract convention. They cancel one meeting at the last minute, and come 4 hours late to another one. They agree to exactly 0 of our proposals. They tell us that the next date they are available is more than 3 weeks away.
2) A company gives a “new” proposal on 6 issues, but turns out that it is the exact same proposal that the same company gave us over a year ago.
3) A company, on its first day of bargaining, agrees in writing to real improvements on 8 of the issues its employees’ raised.
If you choosed number 3, this is exactly what happened at the negotiations on January 3rd with one company called Block by Block in the security industry in the Twin Cities. This is what most people would call bargaining in good faith. Unfortunately, numbers 1 & 2 are what security officers in all of the other companies in the twin cities got as our new year’s “thank you” card!
Security Companies continue to stall.
Hear it from some of the 50 security officers in the room who took the day off to be in negotiations on January 3rd and 4th:
Local 26 Security Officer Bargaining Update #1
On December 10th, the union security officer negotiation team met with the companies for just the second time since our contract convention last month. We proposed 6 additional dates to meet. The companies only agreed to one before the expiration of the current union contract.
Divide and Conquer
The companies insisted twice that they do not want to negotiate over the suburbs until we have resolved the downtown officer’s contract. Suburban officers have been at the bargaining table since last year. We still have received no written counter proposals for the suburbs since the spring. How long is long enough to wait?