ABOUT CLIFF WILLMENG
I'm a nurse with 13 years of emergency, ICU, and primary care experience and
a frontline union activist with 20 years of experience in three different unions.
A newer MNA member, I was part of the effort to improve protocol, PPE, and policy
at United Hospital during the outbreak of COVID 19. I joined many nurses in
waging a six-week fight for workplace and patient safety, an effort that drove
local and national news stories, built actions against a retaliatory hospital
administration, and energized MNA members to engage in nursing activism. I was
identified as an activist and leader during these efforts and fired from my position
at United's ER. My termination is now the subject of union arbitration set to be
January 7th and 8th, 2021 and whistleblower litigation against Allina Health set
for trial on August 23, 2021.
I've been a member, steward, and officer in unions ranging from the United
Brotherhood of Carpenters to the 22,000-member UFCW Local 7 and now MNA.
In all of them, I advocated for powerful, democratic, and mobilized unions. I fought
the steady weakening of working class power, I organized on job sites,
developed analysis, fought racism, and strove to build a revitalized, 21st
century union movement.
I live in Minneapolis with my wife Mary and my two kids, Sasha and Charlie.
My experience in the labor movement:
November 23, 2020: Elected to Board of Directors, Minnesota Nurses Association
January, 2020, elected steward, MNA.
- 2016: Joined Kaiser Permanente and UFCW Local 7. Rock Creek Kaiser job steward in December of 2016
- 2016: Cofounded, WE DO THE WORK podcast.
Worker-run media covering labor issues across Colorado
and the United States.
* Downloaded in 29 countries on six continents
* Followed by over 2000 people
* More than 1,000,000 video views
*** We Do The Work was instrumental in reversing planned
pay cuts for hundreds of front line health care workers in
Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth hospital systems.
- 2015 – 2016: Community advocate and supporter of Lafayette Firefighter’s successful unionization campaign. Won through municipal ballot initiative with over 70% of the vote and established Lafayette’s first public service union, IAFF 4620
- Coverage: VOTERS GIVE FIREFIGHTERS COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
- 2007: Student strike leader in support of AFT Local 1600,
-- Campaigned against cuts to Chicago Transit Union, stopped over 3600 job cuts from Chicago public transportation system
- 2001: Cofounded Carpenters for a Rank and File Union in opposition to UBC withdrawl from AFL-CIO. CRFU built rank and file union activist across the Chicago District Council of Carpenters and made connections to building trade organizations nationally. Building on a full platform of issues and through multiple organizing platforms, CRFU succeeded in reducing retirement age by two years for over 34,000 members.
- Strategist for successful union organizing campaign at Chicago newspaper Streetwise
- 2000: Joined United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 1, Chicago IL. Job steward.
- 1999, Seattle: Participated in mobilization against global corporate trade agency, the World Trade Organization. More than 50,000 trade unionists involved. Later cofounded the Chicago Direct Action Network, which fought for working class issues from the construction of Cesar Chavez High School to cuts to public housing, and assisted national mobilizations against corporate trade.
- Coverage: The Battle in Seattle, 1999
"Working people don't need representation. We need to be building power and representing ourselves."