Today marks my last day as editor of Workday Minnesota. It has been an honor to have done this work since this website was launched in August 2000. And it has been a privilege to provide a platform for workers to tell their stories.
Seventeen years ago, the Internet was much younger and unions were not making great use of the technology. The idea of a website that would focus on labor news seemed radical to some. But Workday happened because of the vision of Bernard Brommer, president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO at the time, and the involvement of Howard Kling of the Labor Education Service.
As the editor of the Union Advocate, the newspaper of what was then called the St. Paul Trades & Labor Assembly, I was viewed as someone who could be trusted to take the reins of this new venture.
From the beginning, our goal was to provide a place for workers' voices to be heard. And that need still exists. Despite the avalanche of information available through the Internet, workers' stories are still scarce. So are news and resources that support worker rights.
In the ensuing years, drawing on the experienced Labor Education Service telecommunications staff, we added video as a frequent feature of our coverage. The Workday project expanded beyond a website to utilize Facebook and Twitter. We now cover not only union activities, but also the actions of organizations such as worker centers and any efforts -- like the campaign for a $15 minimum wage -- that advance better conditions for working people.
Through the years, I have met people from all walks of life and have learned that leadership comes in many forms. It can be the officer elected to head her union or the organizer who goes door to door talking to potential members. It can be the activist -- of any age -- who demonstrates in the streets. It can be the person who makes the phone calls or does the mundane tasks necessary to build a strong organization. It can be as complicated as a multi-pronged campaign and as simple as one worker talking to another.
The Workday Minnesota project has provided the opportunity for me to get to know many of you -- and hopefully support your efforts. Workday provides a window on your world, but it is you who create the message.
I owe a special thanks to the many labor communicators and other journalists, interns and freelance writers who have played a role over these many years in helping Workday succeed. It has been a joy to work with all of you.
The Labor Education Service is in the process of hiring a new editor, someone whom I know will take Workday to the next level. As for me, I will be moving into a different kind of job -- but one that still has ties to labor -- in administrative support at the Cummins & Cummins law firm. I am excited about this new opportunity. And despite the many challenges we face today, I remain hopeful. I guess it has something to do with the many amazing people I have had the privilege to meet.
As the late, great Paul Wellstone said, "The future will not belong to those who sit on the sidelines. The future will not belong to the cynics. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."