Fresh off a visit just five days earlier with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges kicked off the 2015 NAGLO conference by welcoming the participants to the city. She was one of 70 mayors from around the world who discussed climate change and human trafficking with the Pope.
“I am very grateful to see you here,” she told the NAGLO group. “The work you do ensures that our labor standards and practices are ones that foster a great economy and great lives.”
Mayor Hodges talked about some of the recent accomplishments of Minneapolis, including the city being named the most “literate city in the US” in an annual survey from Central Connecticut State University. For a look at more of the city’s recent accolades, click here.
She also pointed out that her city faced areas of much needed improvement, including having some of the biggest gaps in the country between white people and people of color.
“That is true for employment, health, housing, education, and you name it,” she said. “It matters. It matters for the future of our region and our economy.” She emphasized that all workers needed to have the tools to be prepared for good jobs.
“But to create the workforce of the future, we need to create the workplace of the future,” she said. “We need a workplace where people are treated well and people are treated fairly.”
“Fair scheduling means making sure people know when they’re going to be working and when they are not, so that if their shift gets cancelled at the last minute and they have to rearrange their lives, they should be compensated for that.”
She also discussed the problem of wage theft, which is something she wants to fight. “We’re making sure we, as a city, have the tools at our disposal to make sure that the practice doesn’t happen and that practice doesn’t thrive.”
In the end, she said that Minneapolis is moving in the right direction. She said a CEO recently told her that he found it was hard to get people to come to the city, but it was impossible to get them to leave, even for a promotion.
“It’s our job to make sure we are a great place, and that we are great for everybody. It’s in that context, that the work that you do, the information you have, the practices that you share, and the oversight you do — really matters. Thank you for everything you do to support working people.”