Timing is bad for pay raises
Timing is everything, especially when it comes to COVID-19. Unfortunately, the timing is bad for pay raises that were negotiated for tens of thousands of state workers. On Tuesday, we learned that the COVID-19 pandemic will be taking a $4 billion bite out of the Minnesota budget, leaving the state with a projected $2.43 billion deficit instead of the $1.5 billion surplus projected earlier this year. Republicans in the Legislature argue the state can’t afford these raises right now. The Democrats are pushing back, arguing cutting raises for employees will hamper the state’s ability to respond to the pandemic. While we sympathize with the workers – many of them playing key roles during the pandemic -†the state should delay these raises. Many private sector workers considered essential workers – in health care for example -†are also not seeing pay raises and some are experiencing pay cuts or reduced hours. The state has to get through this crisis before handing out pay raises. State Sen. Gary Dahms released a statement in support of delaying those raises. He also reported that Senate implemented a salary freeze on its employees on the budget deficit.
Pandemic exposes broken food system
The dumping of meat and other food products because of the pandemic is disheartening. From top to bottom, there has to be a better way to operate the nation’s food supply system. And it starts at the meat packing plants who have consolidated through the years. And we are finding out that without worker safety procedures in place, consistent production faces tremendous risks during a health crisis.
Great acts of giving
In tough times, it’s inspiring to see neighbor helping neighbor. On Tuesday, a line of cars stretched around the Southwest Minnesota State University campus as workers volunteering with the United Community Action Partnership as well as Second Harvest Heartland distributed surplus food. On that same day, the Noon Rotary Club of Marshall helped unload 80 boxes of food from a truck to put into arriving cars at St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Marshall. Marshall Rotarians also joined into a partnership with Schwan’s to purchase 11 iPads to distribute to residents at area care facilities. The iPads will be used by the residents to connect with family members and friends. It will also allow them to receive virtual health care.