North Dakota AFL-CIO


Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List. Read more >>>

Each week, we take a look at the biggest friends and foes of labor. We celebrate the workers winning big and small battles, and we shame the companies or people trying to deny working people their rights. Read more >>>

The North Dakota AFL-CIO has carefully considered the following candidates and believes they have earned the support of North Dakota’s working people this November.

Brothers and sisters,

On Thursday, the AFL-CIO and other allied groups held a rally against the TPP outside the offices of Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp and Representative Cramer. Around 150 people took part for nearly an hour, energetically chanting anti-TPP slogans, holding signs and waiving their union banners – doing what we’ve done for over 100 years when we don’t like the direction we see the government moving!

Read more >>>

Good from Bad Water

Union members have been helping out Flint, Michigan, residents during its water crisis. Read the full article>>>

Four North Dakota Steelworker activists participated in the three-day AFL-CIO Martin Luther King Jr. conference “Change the Rules, Be the Power” in Washington, D.C. this past week.

The conference was attend by over one thousand delegates and offered many plenary sessions and trainings around topics such as: combating racism, fighting for equal pay for women, being an ally in social justice, and building power for all workers.

Read more >>>

Missouri Slope Labor Council recently held elections for officers, electing Cody Serr as President. Read more >>>

The North Dakota AFL-CIO extends their most sincere condolences to the Docktor family on their loss. Wallace “Wally” Docktor will be remembered by the labor movement for his years of tireless service, building power for working people and their families. Wally’s legacy is that of a champion for North Dakota workers whose passion for justice will echo for years to come. Read more >>>

On September 14th, 2015, United Steelworker local 560 members volunteered their time and talents as part of the Doosan Days of Community Service. During these annual Days of Community Service, employees volunteer their time and talents to projects in their local communities. This was the third Doosan Day of Community Service this year. Read more >>>

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

As many of you are aware, the most significant event this year affecting the entire the working class is the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. This is the ultra-secret free-trade treaty coming through Congress soon that will force us to compete on an even basis with workers paid next to nothing, workers who also have few safety, environmental and health protections. Make no mistake! This will be a disaster for the American worker!

Read more >>>

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

As you may already know, the last few weeks have been really action-packed for organized labor. The huge struggle over the passage of Fast Track legislation, also known as the “Trade Promotion Authority” bill, has made for an interesting first week on the job.

The whole process was complicated and messy, so let’s explain Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to make it clear what exactly happened in Washington.

Read more >>>

BISMARCK – On June 16th Waylon Hedegaard took office as the new President/Secretary-Treasurer of the North Dakota AFL-CIO.

On May 16th, the North Dakota AFL-CIO held elections for officers at the annual AFL-CIO convention in Grand Forks, North Dakota where Hedegaard was elected President/Secretary-Treasurer of the organization. Jason Frank was elected to the position of First Vice President and Nick Archuleta, Diane Fitterer and Darrell Miller were elected to the Board of Trustees.


Read more >>>

On April 11th, USW local 560 held their monthly meeting with an unprecedented number of workers under the age of 35 in attendance. This was due to organizing efforts of the ten delegates that recently attended the AFL-CIO "Next Up" summit. Read more >>>

A delegation of eleven young workers from North Dakota attended the national AFL-CIO’s Next Up Young Workers Summit last weekend in Chicago. USW local 560 sent ten young workers and the North Dakota AFL-CIO sent one staff young worker as the eleventh member of the North Dakota delegation.

The summit had a total attendance of 1000 young workers from all around the United States and a few delegations of international young workers. The event was believed to be the most diverse AFL-CIO event in it’s history with attendees coming from a wide variety of sectors and backgrounds. The four day summit was packed with over 80 topical breakout sessions, punctuated with periodic daily plenary sessions and state-based planning sessions.

Notable speakers included: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, AFL-CIO Executive Vice-President Tefere Gebre, Actor and Activist Danny Glover, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and many incredible young leaders in the labor movement.

Read more >>>

HB 1357, a bill that would have required two people to operate a train in North Dakota, was defeated in the House this morning.

The North Dakota House of Representatives voted 46 for and 45 against, with three absent. However, because of a Constitutional provision in the bill, it needed 48 votes to pass, leaving it two votes short of law.

We want to thank all the supporters that contacted their legislators on this important piece of safety legislation. Please stay tuned...

North Dakota Working Families Legislation this week:

  • HB 1357 - Two-Person Crew on Trains
  • SB 2279 - Anti-Discrimination in Employment and Housing
  • North Dakota United Legislative Update (Public Employees and Teachers)
Read more >>>

North Dakota Working Families Legislation this week:

  • Nondiscrimination in Employment and Housing
  • Public Employees
  • Minimum Wage
  • Tax Credit for FMLA


Read more >>>

North Dakota Working Families Legislation this week:

  • Pay Equity
  • Tipped Minimum Wage
  • Post-Traumatic Stress and First Responders
  • Nondiscrimination in Employment and Housing
  • Workplace Bullying and Public Employees
  • Domestic Violence and Public Employees


Read more >>>

On Saturday, January 21st, progressive organizations and activists gathered in three cities to discuss progressive legislative issues in North Dakota for the first Solidarity Saturday.

Solidarity Saturdays are informal gatherings of progressive organizations and people to talk about shared concerns in North Dakota and to keep tabs on bills that come up during the legislative session.

North Dakota Working Families Legislation this week:

  • Employer Retaliation
  • Withholding Accrued Paid Time Off
  • Unemployment Benefits for Victims of Stalking
  • Tipped Minimum Wage
  • Post-Traumatic Stress and First Responders
  • Nondiscrimination in Employment and Housing
  • Upcoming Actions
Read more >>>

ND Working Families Legislation:

  • Equal Pay for Equal Work (HB 1293, 1294, 1257)
  • Public Emplyee Retirement (SB2038)
  • Tipped Minimum Wage (1438)


Read more >>>

North Dakota Working Families Legislative Update #1

  • Witholding Payment of Accrued Paid Time Off (HB 1202)
  • Equal Work Deserves Equal Pay Legislation (HB 1257, 1293 & 1294)
  • Early Childhood Education Funding (SB 2151)
Read more >>>

The 64th North Dakota Legislative Assembly convened last Tuesday, January 6, 2015 in Bismarck, ND and will be in session for a maximum 80 days. The North Dakota AFL-CIO will be providing ongoing information, analysis and possibly calls-to-action on legislation that would affect workers here in North Dakota.

There are already a number of pre-filed bills that we are tracking, and as other bills are introduced in the upcoming weeks we will be working with our affiliates and allies to determine which bills are most important to North Dakota workers.

  • There has been a bill introduced that would be the largest funding bill ever for education in North Dakota. We are hopeful that the reduced oil revenue forecast does not have an impact on this important and historic legislation.
  • There is a bill filed in the Senate that would shut down the defined benefit pension plan for public employee new-hires and force them into a defined contribution retirement plan.

Check back here to find out the most up-to-date information on legislation affecting North Dakota workers.

If you have any questions about the legislative process, don't hesitate to contact us at

Read more >>>

The North Dakota Building and Constructions Trades Council recently gathered for their 41st annual convention in Fargo, ND on September 4th and 5th. Over 50 delegates from Building and Construction Trades local unions from around the state were in attendance for the convention proceedings. In addition to the general annual business of the Council, the agenda included appearances by elected public officials, endorsed candidates seeking support for the November 4th general election and industry experts, as well as a few high-profile international union and labor federation leaders.

Ron Huff, member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLET) and long-time North Dakota AFL-CIO vice president, was elected on August 21, 2014 to the Board of Trustees of the North Dakota AFL-CIO to fill out a recent vacancy on the Board.

The North Dakota AFL-CIO held its 55th annual convention on May 16 and 17th in Fargo, North Dakota at the Doublewood Inn. There were nearly 80 delegates in attendance and over 30 unions represented at the two-day convention.

The North Dakota Young Workers held a lunch-time action planning session focused around North Dakota’s new Voter ID laws, and educating our co-workers on these changes to ensure they are not denied the right to vote in November. Staff from the ACLU of the Dakotas and the South Dakota AFL-CIO were guests.

Fraternal greetings were brought from both Minnesota and South Dakota respectively by Shar Knutson, President Minnesota AFL-CIO and Mark Anderson, President South Dakota AFL-CIO. President Knutson discussed their recent victory on raising the minimum wage, while President Anderson spoke on the legislative landscape of South Dakota, particularly their upcoming ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage in South Dakota to $8.50.

In addition to general federation business, the main focus of this convention was to endorse candidates for the upcoming November 2014 election. The endorsements for statewide races are as follows:

  • U.S. House - George Sinner
  • Attorney General - Kiara Kraus-Parr
  • Agriculture Commissioner - Ryan Taylor
  • Secretary of State - April Fairfield
  • Public Service Commissioner - Todd Reisenauer
  • Public Service Commissioner - Tyler Axness
  • Tax Commissioner - Jason Astrup

State legislative endorsements will be announced by their respective labor councils in the upcoming week.

Read more >>>

This past Monday, Workers Memorial Day was observed nation-wide by labor, faith and other community groups. In North Dakota, The Northern Plains, Northern Valley and Missouri Slope Labor Councils commemorated the annual event with observances in Fargo-Moorhead, Grand Forks-East Grand Forks, and Bismarck North Dakota, respectively.

Workers Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have lost their lives or been injured on the job, and to renew our commitment to improve safety for workers in North Dakota.

The North Dakota AFL-CIO would like to thank the hard working brothers and sisters at each of the aforementioned labor councils who put a lot of time and effort to make these observances really special and meaningful. This year they each had an extremely good turnout from the community, thanks to their hard work.

Click "Read More" for links to press clippings for each event, as well as statewide coverage of North Dakota's workplace fatality rate being the highest in the nation.

Read more >>>

Fargo, ND - A coalition of local organizations screened Robert Reich's Sundance award-winning documentary INEQUALITY FOR ALL to a packed house at the Fargo Theatre Second Screen last Thursday evening. Approximately ninety-nine community members took advantage the opportunity to view and discuss this award-winning documentary about income inequality in our nation and the way it has shaped our economy and democracy.

The 2013 AFL-CIO Legislative Voting Record for the North Dakota delegation are now available.

Rep. Kevin Cramer voted against working families a whopping 15 times out of a total of 21 votes taken during 2013. This gives Rep. Cramer a dismal 2013 and lifetime voting record of 29%.

It should be noted that one of the six votes Rep. Cramer took that was considered supportive of working families was actually a vote to end the Federal government shutdown, the very same shutdown that he and his friends were responsible for weeks prior.

In 2013 Sen. John Hoeven voted 6 times for working families legislation and 12 times against working families legislation. This gives Sen. Hoeven a 33% AFL-CIO voting record for 2013 and a lifetime average of 21%.

On the other hand, in 2013 Sen. Heidi Heitkamp voted an astounding 100% of the time for legislation that supports working families. The ND AFL-CIO applauds Sen. Heitkamp for championing working families agenda and representing the hard working families in North Dakota.

More detail on the votes that were tracked can be found at here at the AFL-CIO website.

FREE PUBLIC SCREENING of Robert Reich's award-winning documentary "Inequality of All."

Thursday, April 17, 2014
7 PM
Second Screen at the Fargo Theatre

Join us and our friends at North Dakota AFL - CIO, North Dakota Community Action Partnership, North Dakota Economic Security and Prosperity Alliance (NDESPA), North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, and the City of Fargo of Human Relations Commission for a FREE PUBLIC SCREENING of Robert Reich's award-winning documentary "Inequality for All.

Inequality for All Facebook link for more information

Following the film there will be a panel discussion with individuals and organizations representing social services and public policy.

The 24th annual North Dakota International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) ice fishing tournament was held Saturday, February 22 at the Woodlands Resort in Devils Lake, ND. The tournament drew an impressive turnout of over 100 members and their families, from eleven different IBEW locals. Participating IBEW Locals included: 31, 160, 231,242, 292, 343, 387, 714, 949, 1426, and 1593.
  Read more >>>

The South Dakota AFL-CIO has been busy working on an important ballot initiative in coalition with the South Dakota Democratic Party, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and other coalition partners.

The minimum wage in South Dakota is currently $7.25 per hour for non-tipped hourly employees, and $2.13 per hour for tipped employees. This ballot initiative would raise the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour for non-tipped hourly employees, and $4.25 for tipped employees. Also, this measure would index the minimum wage to South Dakota inflation

Read more >>>

The North Dakota Building and Construction Trades Council state association met on December 6th at the Bismarck Labor Hall, where they appointed Jason Ehlert as the new president.

Jason is a member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) local 1962. He was raised in a union household - the son of a union bricklayer. He earned a social studies teaching degree from Concordia College and worked as a union teacher for 3 years before joining the Bricklayers. He later joined the IUPAT and is now a full-time organizer in North Dakota for IUPAT Council 82.

Read more >>>

Last week United Steelworkers Local 663 ratified a new contract with Cretex. Local 663 members proudly produce a wide range of concrete products, such as pipe, bridge beams and culverts at Cretex's Menoken, ND plant.

The negotiating team met with management only three times before they were finished. The first meeting was in November, and than again on the 30th and 31st of January.
Tom Pfliger, USW Local 663 president, credits both his negotiating team and the company for things going so smoothly.

Read more >>>

The North Dakota AFL-CIO warmly welcomes it's newest affiliate, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local Lodge W384. IAMAW Local Lodge W384 represents the hard working men and women at the Motor Coach Industries, Ltd (MCI) manufacturing facility in Pembina, ND.

The North Dakota and Minnesota Labor community presents the "Summer of Solidarity" tour: free evening of activism, food and music celebrating working-class struggle and solidarity.

"The Summer of Solidarity Tour is a 17-day, 13-city coast-to-coast tour of Steelworker local union activists and community allies from across the country aimed at supporting local struggles and connecting them with the broader fight against corporate power."

Summer of Solidarity Facebook Event Page

With less than a week to go in the North Dakota Legislature, the N.D. AFL-CIO is pushing hard to protect working men and women in the state, and urgin the Governor to veto legislation that hurts our workers and gives industry the ability to "lock out" any worker and deny them unemployment assistance. Help us stand up against this bill. Read more >>>

HB 1112, a bill that will deny unemployment assistance to any worker who has been "locked out" of their job, has passed the Senate and the House in North Dakota. Contact our Governor and tell him to veto this anti-worker legislation. Read more >>>

The severe winter storm that has hit the state and the capital city especially hard has canceled legislative work at the Capitol for at least one day. But action will continue soon, and the N.D. AFL-CIO needs your help to fight against the lockout bill and voter ID. Read more >>>

The North Dakota state Legislature is winding down for this session, but the N.D. AFL-CIO is hard at work, tracking legislation that affects our workers. This upcoming week, we will need your assistance in helping locked-out workers receive assistance. Read more >>>

All of the latest action in the state Legislature, including bills on pain, voting and lockouts, and the full list of legislation being tracked by the N.D. AFL-CIO. Read more >>>

Here is all the latest information on the state Legislature and bills that the North Dakota AFL-CIO are tracking and taking action on, for the week of March 25, 2013. Read more >>>

Right now, our state Legislature is deliberating on a piece of legislation that would fundamentally alter our state’s system of voting. HB 1332 would deny people the right to vote unless they can provide a drivers license, a state-issued identification card or tribal government ID.
Learn more about this voter-suppression measure, and what it will mean to you and your rights.
  Read more >>>

Crossover break is over at the North Dakota State Legislature, and legislators returned to begin deliberations on bills sent over from the opposite chamber. This week's N.D. AFL-CIO Legislative Update tells you about a voter-suppression bill being debated this week in the Senate, and more. Read more >>>

Crossover is coming soon at the North Dakota Legislature. Before it does, the Senate is due to take up a vote on SB 2224, to grant unemployment assistance to workers who have been locked out of their jobs. This week's N.D. AFL-CIO Legislative Update tells you how you can help to pass this important legislation, and all the bills our organization is tracking. Read more >>>

Your weekly update for all the latest happenings in the 2013 N.D. Legislative Session, and the bills that the N.D. AFL-CIO is tracking, by President Tom Ricker. Read more >>>

This past week in the North Dakota State Legislature, there were hearings concerning WSI, voting and pensions for state employees, among many other bills that were heard. Click here to read about three of particular interest to the North Dakota AFL-CIO. Read more >>>

On Jan. 30, the North Dakota AFL-CIO participated in a National Day of Action with the national AFL-CIO to urge Congress to SAY NO to cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the upcoming fiscal showdown. In addition they urged congress to close loopholes for the 2% and avoid sequestration. Across the country, working men and women all stood together, strong and proud, in support of our great middle class.

As part of this National Day of Action, the North Dakota AFL-CIO brought together over 30 union members from 10 affiliate unions to the U.S. Federal Building in Bismarck, to stand together for what’s right and to meet with the staff of Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven, and Rep. Kevin Cramer. This delegation included members from the: United Steel Workers, International Association of Machinists, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Communications Workers of America, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Operating Engineers, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Ironworkers, Graphic Communicators International Union, as well as the Northern Valley Labor Council and the Missouri Slope Labor Council.

Despite snowstorms and -40 degree wind chills, the North Dakota AFL-CIO gathered together 20 young workers for our Young Workers Meeting from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan 29.

We're almost a month into the legislative session, and the N.D. AFL-CIO has been busy, to say the least, keeping track of legislation that directly affects our affiliates and all of the working class in the state.
Here's the latest update on all that's happening with the N.D. AFL-CIO, on the ground at the state Capitol. Read more >>>

N.D. AFL-CIO Standing Up for Workers at State Legislature
By Tom Ricker, N.D. AFL-CIO President

This past Tuesday was the opening day of the 2013 North Dakota Legislative Session. Renee Pfenning, our 1st Vice President of the N.D. AFL-CIO, and I attended Gov. Dalrymple’s state of the state speech on the first day of the session, and we intend to be at the Capitol every day, every moment that we can, representing working families statewide and reminding our legislators just how much labor does for the good of our state each day.

Read more >>>


Members of the Missouri Slope Central Labor Council in Bismarck, ND symbolically delivered pennies to the offices of Senator Conrad, Senator Hoven and Congressman Berg today, April 17th. This action was part of an AFL-CIO “National Day of Action” to protest congressional corporate tax giveaways that leave North Dakota's working families holding the bill on Tax Day.

Last week, ND AFL-CIO supporters joined thousands of union members and community partners in a National Day of Action for Verizon workers who are trying to win a fair contract.

During the 2010 ND AFL-CIO convention, President Kemnitz had union members sign their names to a resolution which serves as a tribute to Senator Byron Dorgon

Click here to view PDF version of the AFL-CIO Tribute to Senator Dorgan



AFL-CIO Workers Bill of Rights

Every working person in America has the right to free speech, to dignity and respect on the job and to pursue a better life for themselves and their families. We are guaranteed our rights under the constitution - and we don't give them up when we become an employee of any business or organization. No employer can take away our rights or use their power to violate or deny us our rights.

As working Americans, we have the right:

* To decent, secure jobs, without forfeiting any basic human and constitutional rights.

* To be paid a living wage, to be rewarded fairly and equitably for our work and to share in the gains we created for our employers.

* To speak freely and openly in our workplaces, to talk with our co-workers on any subject we choose - including joining a union- without fear of reprisal.

* To meet with co-workers to peacefully assemble with any other individuals for any purpose - including to organize a union.

* To distribute literature expressing our views without being harassed, intimidated, threatened or fired

* To make life better for ourselves and our families by joining or forming a union and striving for a decent standard of living, opportunities for advancement and a secure future.

* To make the choice to join a union through a democratic procedure without pressure, interference, threats, harassment or retaliation of any kind from our employers.

Pledge To Support Workers' Rights

I endorse the rights of working people set forth above. If elected, I promise to defend the free and unimpeded exercise of these rights.

Signed_________________________ Date ________________

Candidate for _____________________________________________________

The North Dakota Labor Leaders Scholarship is open to any union member or the family of a union member who plans on attending a North Dakota University, College, Technical or Trade School. 

New Labor Talk Radio on KNDS with Kevin and Heather Murch!

The North Dakota AFL-CIO is the state federation of labor representing over 15,000 members of over 80 unions throughout North Dakota.

The mission of the North Dakota AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families—to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our state and the nation. To accomplish this mission, we work to:

  • Build a broad movement of North Dakota workers by helping workers join and form unions.
  • Support North Dakota workers as they bargain with employers to improve their living conditions and workplaces, as well as their communities, state and nation.
  • Strengthen the voice of North Dakota working families at all levels of government and in a changing global economy.

The North Dakota AFL-CIO is a key part of the nation's largest and strongest labor federation—the AFL-CIO, which unites 10.5 million working women and men of every race and ethnicity and from every walk of life.

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