The recent mass shootings in Texas and New York intersect with the organized labor movement among younger workers. Some in Minnesota say safe workplaces ties in with their demands for fair pay and better treatment.
Last week’s school shooting in Uvalde has renewed debate about gun-control laws and whether schools should beef up security.
But Ma-Riah Roberson-Moody, an education support professional and a union member in Minneapolis, said she would like to see conversation regarding safe and stable campus environments.
In a recent AFL-CIO forum, she suggested that starts with adding the kinds of professionals who can effectively engage with students.
“We have to be able to provide adequate supports like social workers,” said Roberson-Moody, “like nurses, like support staff.”
She said these themes were a central part of the recent Minneapolis teacher’s strike, while adding that support staff are the ones routinely roaming the halls in schools where there isn’t a lot of security.
Roberson-Moody said these workers should be given the proper support as they meet the mental-health needs of students. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says “school connectedness” can play a role in enhancing safety.
Anders Bloomquist, an employee of Fair State Brewery, recently helped lead efforts to establish the nation’s first unionized microbrewery. He said it followed the start of the pandemic and the global protests over George Floyd‘s murder.
Bloomquist said while it might not feel right as the nation mourns the victims, this spring’s tragedies can inspire similar collective action.
“Do not hesitate to use those moments,” said Bloomquist, “when people are asking really tough questions about the world and their place in it.”
The call for action comes as larger chains such as Amazon and Dollar General face growing scrutiny over workplace safety.
For those working in fast-food and retail settings, some have cited threats of violence through armed robberies as part of their accountability demands in protecting employees.