Where Politics, Mops, and Wheels Collide

This week’s edition covers stories from March 7th to March 13th, 2024. Today’s issue is 981 words, a 7-minute read.

Ebe tackles this week’s most buzzing topics along with an exciting update from our team! 

Hi hi, it’s Ebe. I hope you all have been keeping yourselves hydrated, fed, and well-rested since the last time you heard from me. As for myself, I’ve been trying to do just that as I battle a chronically upset tummy. Funny enough, I’ve been watching a lot of Survivor lately, and for a girl who gets mysteriously bruised too often and needs a consistent skincare routine, I sure have a lot of confidence that I could live in the wilderness for a month, eat solely rice and beans, and compete in extreme obstacle courses to win $1 million.


Lots of stuff happening in the Twin Cities recently! From Kamala Harris visiting today to the ongoing fight for fair wages, get your ice cream cones ready because I’m giving you the scoop (plus a little extra sweet update from our team sprinkled on top).

Vice President Kamala Harris Visits the Twin Cities

Today is a big day in the Minnesota political scene. Vice President Kamala Harris is set to visit the Twin Cities today as her next stop on her nationwide “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms” tour, an effort to counter extreme attacks on reproductive rights across the United States. The tour launched on January 22, the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

📷 Tannen Maury

The VP has been outspoken about radical policies such as nationwide abortion bans and efforts to criminalize doctors, and she holds firmly the importance of every woman’s right to decide her own reproductive choices. Harris is holding events in states across the country starting with Wisconsin and Minnesota to unite folks in defense of individual bodily autonomy, shedding light on the harmful consequences of abortion bans and sharing personal stories of affected people. Essentially, she’s hitting the road to pressure Congress to restore Roe protections and outline the administration’s efforts to safeguard healthcare access.

This would be the third visit to Minnesota for VP Harris. Last time she was here to talk about about investing in electric vehicles. Although the details about time and place aren’t publicly known, our very own Director of Public Affairs, Kat Thao, will be attending! Say hi if you see her there!

Twin Cities Janitors End Their Strike

 📸 Elizabeth Flores / Star Tribune

And now, for updates from the picket lines. The union representing Twin Cities janitors, SEIU Local 26, has reached a tentative agreement with employers after a three-day strike involving over 4,000 workers. Following a nearly 20-hour bargaining session, the agreement includes a $20 per hour wage, raises of over 17% throughout the contract, employer-paid 401K accounts, life insurance, increased sick days and holidays, reduced healthcare costs, and more full-time work opportunities in larger buildings. Mike Bartos, one of the union folks, expressed his pride in what they were able to accomplish, saying they fought hard and got the best deal yet. Now, it’s up to the union members to give it their seal of approval. Congratulations to these workers who perform the often overlooked work out there and are finally getting their payday!

MPLS City Council Passes Ordinance Promising Minimum Wages for Rideshare Drivers

ATTENTION ALL THOSE WHO USE RIDE-SHARING APPS. This is not a drill. Seriously, if you use Uber or Lyft, you’ll wanna read this because you might just have to find another way back home from the club at 2am. There’s been a lot of tension between the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey since last year about establishing a minimum wage for rideshare drivers, and now the situation is getting a bit more precarious.

📷 Richard Vogel/ AP

Basically, drivers are currently paid per ride, and that pay is pretty low. Like, literally less than $5 sometimes, although lots of reports out there frame the pay in terms of hourly pay. But here’s the twist: many drivers only do this as a side hustle instead of full-time. Also, states with high earnings per driver tend to have larger populations, so averages might not tell the whole story (thanks, Bachelor’s degree!). So the City Council has been trying to say “Hey, we gotta pay these people more,” but Lyft and Uber have been telling Frey “if you let this happen, we will stop offering our services altogether in your state,” so he’s said no to any sort of resolution. HOWEVER, last week the City Council decided to take a gamble and passed an ordinance 9-4 that guarantees drivers get 80% of canceled rides and earn no less than $5 per ride. Mayor Frey said he was going to veto it again, but this time they have enough votes to override that.

Will we be picking names from a hat to choose the designated driver from now on? Find out next week on When Will We Pay People Fairly Without Reaping Horrible Consequences and Why Don’t We Invest In Public Transport More?

NewPublica VP of Public Affairs to Become First DACA Recipient to Earn a PhD From the Humphrey School of Public Affairs

We were on the news! We were on the news! Did you happen to see some familiar faces on Kare 11 the other evening? Well, the most important one you need to remember is that of our VP of Public Affairs, Edwin Torres, who will become the first-ever DACA recipient to pursue a doctorate at the Humphry School of Public Affairs this fall!

DACA recipients are people who immigrated from another country with their families as young children, too young to have a say in where they go. They have some rights as regular U.S. citizens do, but they do not hold citizenship status. I, myself, am a DACA recipient from Mexico, and I know firsthand how tough it is to be in this indefinite limbo. For Edwin and his family (who hail from El Salvador), this accomplishment is enormous. He will also be the only one in his family to hold a PhD. To thank his parents for their sacrifice and hard work, Edwin bought them their first house.

Watch the full segment on Kare 11! With a teary and most heartfelt congratulations to Edwin…

That’s it from me, see you next time.

Stay informed, stay connected. 

See you next week! 

-Ebe and the NewPrensa team

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Hi, friend: NewPrensa Team here! 
We’re Communications Specialists by day
and tummy ache survivors 
by night!

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