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Unions unite for digital campaign

MAPE and other unions representing public workers across Minnesota launched a digital advertising campaign this week to show how unions are building better lives for their members and all Minnesotans.

The campaign starts a few weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on Feb. 26 on Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. Janus seeks to discourage workers from joining together in strong unions to speak up for themselves, their families and their communities. The lawsuit also aims to financially destabilize public sector unions by challenging their authority to collect fair-share fees from all employees they represent.

The “Building Better Lives Together” campaign features interviews with six members of public sector unions. They discuss issues affecting the lives of Minnesota families, including equitable wages, accessible health care, paid parental leave, student debt and retirement security.

MAPE's Liz Stoneburg

In the photo on the right, Local 1001’s Liz Stoneburg with her son Hugo.

MAPE’s Liz Stoneburg, who works in the Department of Education protecting the rights of children with disabilities, was interviewed about paid parental leave. While pregnant with her son Hugo, state legislators tried to get rid of paid parental leave, a benefit she had been counting on.

Her pregnancy made it difficult for her to join with her fellow union members to participate in rallies and talk to members of the legislature about the importance of paid family leave. “Being a part of the union means I have people to fight on my behalf and that I can fight for them, too,” Stoneburg said.

Paid parental leave was eventually restored. “Every family needs time with their new baby. My union makes that possible,” Stoneburg added.

The campaign videos will be posted at and will be shared on social media using the hashtag #betterlivesMN.

The Public Sector Union Alliance includes AFSCME, Education Minnesota, SEIU, MAPE, Teamsters 320, Middle Management Association, Minnesota Nurses Association and Inter Faculty Organization.