Red-State Governments Are Trying to Take Back Your Minimum-Wage Hike and LGBTQ Protections

“For at least a decade now, the far right has exploited its near-total domination of state government to clamp down on the mere possibility that progressive change could take root in the small specks of blue—the defiant, often Democratic cities—that hover in their midst. From Arkansas and Texas to Alabama and Missouri, reactionary legislatures and governors have used their power to roll back promising local legislation: minimum-wage ordinances, sanctuary-city laws, LGBTQ anti-discrimination regulations, and other achievements meant to better the lives of immigrants, people of color, the working class, and the queer community, among others.

 

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LESSON 1: BE AWARE OF THE PREEMPTION PROPOSALS IN YOUR STATE LEGISLATURE, AND STOP THEM FROM BECOMING LAW WHENEVER POSSIBLE. PREVENTION IS THE BEST REMEDY.

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“A coalition came together to fight it,” says Chris Conry, the strategic campaigns director at TakeAction Minnesota, a statewide network that fights for racial and economic justice. “It was many of the same groups that had been active fighting for sick time in the first place: labor organizations, community-organizing groups, and faith-based organizations.”

Conry says the coalition’s key goal was to publicize the preemption bill as widely as possible, using slogans like “protect local control” and “stop corporate interference” to ensure that Minnesotans knew about the state legislature’s attempt to overturn the will of the people. Indeed, just moments after the preemption bill passed the state Senate, the Minnesota AFL-CIO sent out e-mails to its followers asking them to call the governor and demand he veto it.

“I think the people who wanted [the preemption bill to pass] would have preferred to have the whole thing happen as quietly as possible,” Conry adds. “Once people understand what [preemption] is about, they don’t like it, so there is just a lot of room to run. You can talk to people in suburbs or rural areas or cities and nobody likes it, and if you go do that education work, it is a potent force. You just have to make it controversial and bring it out into the light of day.”

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LESSON 2: GRASSROOTS COALITION-BUILDING IS, AS ALWAYS, THE ESSENTIAL STRATEGY.

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LESSON 3: TRANS-LOCAL AND MULTI-CITY STRATEGIES CAN AMPLIFY THE POWER OF THE MOVEMENTS BATTLING PREEMPTION LAWS.”

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