This week, Social Studies Teacher Manninen incorporated another speaker into his class. This speaker was of Hispanic decent who came in to speak about workers unions in Minnesota.
The Speaker was Francisco Ataminano, organizer of workers unions in the state of Minnesota, who came to the U.S when he was 15 years old. He first lived in California and was employed as a fruit picker. Throughout the years he gradually moved the country picking various types of fruit and eventually made his way to Washington.
Francisco greatly emphasized the difference in wages in different jobs, depending on race and job type and also how some people believe that jobs are being lost to Mexican Americans because they supposedly “work for less.”
He talked of a true story that happened to him that involved discrimination of wages at a previous job he was involved in. He worked at a company who employed 300 workers, with about half of those being of Hispanic race and the other half being of white/Caucasian decent. The owner of the company only gave the white workers benefits and higher wages than the Hispanic workers. When Francisco found this out he took action and sued the company for $5.5 million and won. Even though he won, he got death threats for doing so, which he believed was partly because he was of Hispanic race ad people were angry at him.
“Its not about being illegal or legal, it’s about being a worker and getting paid and making money for your family,” he said once he got those death threats .
A little fun fact that the speaker said was that Minnesota has the highest minimum wage rate then all the surrounding state such as the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Iowa, and etc.