Minnesota lawmakers propose rules to address speed quotas at Amazon warehouses

29 March 2022

In the Star Tribune, Stephen Montemayor writes, “The DFL-led Minnesota House on Monday passed legislation seeking to rein in work speed quotas at Amazon warehouses, saying such requirements have produced disproportionate injury rates. … [the bill] would also task the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry with investigating warehouses with injury rates at least 30% higher than state averages for the industry. Workers could also have access to their work speed data and their employers could not order them to meet quotas that would prevent them from taking breaks for meals or prayer time.”

WCCO-TV reports: “A sloppy, multi-day spring storm is on track to hit Minnesota starting midday Tuesday, with a surge of moisture that could fall as rain, sleet or snow. …Temps will reach into the low 40s by the afternoon, which is also when the winds will start picking up, with speeds between 10-20 mph. Those winds will stick around through early Friday. By Tuesday afternoon, light rain will start to fall in the metro, with the heaviest bands of rain arriving in the evening. As the atmosphere cools, there’s a brief window where we could see some freezing drizzle or freezing rain just north of the Twin Cities, which could put a glaze on roadways.”

Says Ellen Galles of KSTP-TV, “Pending school board approval, significant schedule changes will occur to accommodate for time missed from the classroom during the strike.  MPS plans to add 42 minutes to the school day beginning April 11 until the end of the school year.  The district also plans to extend the school year by two weeks until June 24. Now some families are trying to figure out how to adjust.  Some are considering rearranging after-school activities, camps vacations, and work schedules.”

In the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo writes: “On St. Paul’s West Side, the annual Cinco de Mayo parade is on hold again this year, the third year in a row the May gathering has been waylaid by the pandemic and related organizational challenges. On the city’s East Side, the annual White Bear Avenue parade will not take place in St. Paul this July due to rising security costs, and its chances of moving to Maplewood are up in the air leaning toward slim. It may be over permanently. St. Paul — once the parade capital of Minnesota — continues to shed marching band-style neighborhood festivities amid cost, security and sponsorship concerns, a loss that longtime civic boosters consider unfathomable.”

A KMSP-TV story says, “A woman who worked for the Minnesota Department of Corrections is facing charges alleging she sent drug-laced mail to prisoners. Grace Marie Telfer, 24, who worked at the woman’s prison in Shakopee, allegedly sent mail laced with the synthetic drug K2 to inmates at a correctional facility in Oak Park Heights, according to court filings from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. According to the statement of probable cause, Telfer conspired with former inmates in the scheme, in which she allegedly sprayed the drug onto printer paper, then printed out song lyrics or wrote ‘motivational quotes’ on the sheets before mailing them to inmates via the United States Postal Service.”

MPR’s Brian Bakst reports, “Minnesota is in line for about $300 million from a national settlement with major opioid manufacturers, but how soon that money gets put to use fighting addiction and its spillover effects is up to state lawmakers.  A bill that ratifies terms of the legal settlement and guides cities, counties and tribal governments could reach final votes soon. At least that’s the hope of legislation backers, who say it will enable Minnesota to start collecting its share as early as possible.”

The AP says, “A man is accused of stealing numerous boxes of guns and ammunition while working at a national shipping company in Minnesota, prosecutors said Monday. Jason Cikotte, of Isanti, Minnesota, is charged in federal court with possession of stolen firearms. Authorities said the thefts occurred over the course of almost a year at the XPO Logistics facility in Fridley, north of Minneapolis. … A search of Cikotte’s house turned up about 40 guns, tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition and firearm parts and accessories, authorities said.”

In the Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal, Kelly Busche reports: “A developer is planning to build a boutique hotel in downtown Excelsior, years after plans for another hotel on the same site didn’t move ahead. The boutique hotel, called Excelsior Bay Hotel, would be constructed on a vacant site at 10 Water Street that overlooks Lake Minnetonka. If constructed, it would be one of the few hotels located immediately near the lake. The Excelsior Bay Hotel would have anywhere from 52 to 56 guest rooms as well as space for a restaurant, rooftop bar, meetings, events and retail uses, according to a project presentation submitted to the city.”

Another from KMSP-TV says, “A Minnesota professor who raised thousands of dollars in the name of Philando Castile has agreed to pay back $120,000 as part of a settlement, according to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. In the settlement, prosecutors say Pamela Fergus misused $120,738 raised through her organization ‘Philando Feeds the Children.’ The attorney general’s office says Fergus and her organization promised to use ‘every dollar raised’ to pay down students’ lunch debts. But, Ellison’s office says Fergus never registered her charity with the AG’s office and failed to keep books and records. After collecting $200,000, Ellison says Fergus only paid $80,000  to St. Paul Public Schools. The remainder, Ellison says, went into Fergus’ pockets.”

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