It has been two months since I became the president of the North Dakota AFL-CIO. The primary struggle during this time has been for the 1,300 locked out American Crystal Sugar workers. Though this situation remains unresolved there is cause to be thankful for those who have become involved in this struggle.
Thank you to those who joined us for the rally at the state capitol on November 9. This rally was an attempt to get unemployment benefits for the over 400 locked out workers who have been denied them. Thank you to the many who joined us at the American Crystal Sugar headquarters in Moorhead on November 30 for the Candlelight Prayer Vigil. A special thanks to the religious leaders who participated in that vigil. That vigil has resulted in other religious communities becoming involved in working and praying for the lockout to end.
Thank you to those who have responded with compassionate giving to these workers who have been locked out of their livelihoods since August 1.
It is encouraging that there are many who know we must work together to produce a better North Dakota. We are aware of the need to activate and mobilize our members. We are aware of the need to form coalitions to produce positive change.
I am encouraged by the coalition in opposition to Measure 2. On what other issues can we work together? How do we develop the relationships necessary for such coalitions? Who is willing to make the commitment necessary for forming such coalitions?
Here are a few issues that concern me:
- We have an affordable housing crisis in part of North Dakota. In Minot people making Minot wages and many people on fixed incomes cannot afford housing in Minot.
- We have a “misinformed electorate” in this country that undermines real democracy.
- We have a need to educate about workers’ rights.
I am convinced that working together we can find solutions to these and other issues. It will involve work and it will involve coming together. Put my name on the list. I want to be a participant.
Gary W. Granzotto
President, North Dakota AFL-CIO