As a political junkie I found lifelong politicians Senator Eichorn’s 900-word screed and Bemidji Mayor Albrecht’s rebuttal interesting material for a Logic class project. Eichorn wants to reopen quickly. Who doesn’t? Albrecht wants to open safely. Who doesn’t?
I am reminded by both of the Maya Angelo quote, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Eichorn says he is a small business owner. When I called the business he often is associated with they said he has no involvement with it. So, senator, what business do you own? How are you treating your employees during this crisis?
Albrecht says she is “meeting daily with business owners….” Meeting does not mean listening. In August, 2019, 100 percent of the locally owned businesses on a busy corridor opposed her plan to put in three roundabouts. She publicly referred to them as “Luddites” who did not have her “vision.” She continues in her letter by calling local resorts “non-essential businesses.” These tone-deaf public responses will prevent her for winning any future elections.
In Grand Rapids, where Eichorn lives, the IRA Civic Center is city managed and workers are union. In Bemidji, where Albrecht is mayor, the city owned Sanford Center is managed by an out of state company with non-union labor. Which do you think has the best safety record?
Both politicians ignore the most important stakeholder in this crisis, the employee. And neither has demonstrated a history that employee’s interests are best met when they bargain safety and other work conditions with a democratic union representing them.
Now, more than ever, we need to expand union membership. Perhaps even to Eichorn’s business and the Sanford Center.
Editor’s note: Rita Albrecht’s rebuttal to Justine Eichorn’s editorial first appeared in other area newspapers before appearing this week in The Pilot.