- 1 Labor history
- 2 CPUSA Farm Commission meeting
- 3 Communist Party conference
- 4 AFL-CIO
- 5 Supporting Mark Ritchie
- 6 Communist Party organizer
- 7 Endorsed Al Franken
- 8 Campaigning for Obama in 2008
- 9 Supporting Obama health care plans
- 10 Lobbying Democrats for healthcare
- 11 Active in the D-F-L
- 12 Supporting Mark Dayton
- 13 Working with Al Franken
- 14 References
Mark Froemke is a Minnesota/North Dakota Communist Party USA member and is president of the Western Area Labor Council (AFL-CIO), which represents union members in 11 North Dakota counties and 7 Minnesota counties.
Froemke represents the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union, AFL-CIO. He spent 22 years in the sugarbeet industry in the factory in East Grant Forks, Minnesota.
CPUSA Farm Commission meeting
Party members present were Erwin Marquit, Helvi Savola, Jack Brown, Peter Molenaar, Morgan Soderburg, Bill Gudex, Mark Froemke, Scott Marshall, Gary Severson, Mike Madden, Becky Pera, Charlie Smith and Tim Wheeler.
Mark Ritchie (now Secretary of State for Minnesota) also attended and addressed the meeting. In a written report on the meeting by Tim Wheeler, Ritchie is referred to as a "non-party friend" of the Communist Party. The report was marked "not for publication". Click here for the entire report.
Communist Party conference
In July 2001, Mark Froemke, of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union , addressed the Communist Party USA convention in Milwaukee.
As at Nov. 14, 2003, Froemke was president of the Northern Valley Labor Council AFL-CIO that covers adjacent counties in North Dakota and northern Minnesota. As at Feb. 11, 2005, Froemke was the Vice President for Minnesota AFL-CIO.
Supporting Mark Ritchie
In 2006, four leaders of the Minnesota/Dakotas Communist Party USA - Mark Froemke, Doris Marquit, Erwin Marquit and Peter Molenaar were listed as supporters of the Mark Ritchie Minnesota Secretary of state campaign.
Communist Party organizer
Endorsed Al Franken
On July 14, 2008 the Al Franken for U.S. Senate campaign announced that four new labor organizations have "joined its ever-growing coalition that’s fighting to send a senator to Washington who will stand with Minnesota’s middle class".
The new endorsements were;
- Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union
- Minnesota State Council of UNITE HERE!
- Minnesota Postal Workers Union
- International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Local Union 1
“Minnesotans need a senator who understands the needs of Minnesota families, and who won’t abandon them in a time of need,” declared Mark Froemke, education director of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union, Local 167G.
“Norm Coleman had a chance to support the families of the Red River Valley on CAFTA and, instead, he supported President Bush,” Froemke noted. “Al Franken will stand with farmers and workers and Minnesotans, and that’s why we stand with him in this election..”
Communist Party commentary
In a Peoples World article, November 22, 2008 Barb Kucera wrote of the controversial Minnesota U.S. Senate election, quoting both Mark Ritchie and his known associate Communist Party USA member Mark Froemke .
- Whether Minnesota labor's massive effort to mobilize members in the 2008 elections was a success will ultimately turn on the results of a recount in the U.S. Senate race, Labor 2008 coordinators say.
- While most AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions backed Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) challenger Franken, a few labor organizations–notably the Carpenters and Pipe Trades--endorsed Coleman. After all the results were turned in, Coleman led Franken by only 215 votes out of just under 3 million cast. An official recount began Nov. 18 and could take a month, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said.
- Franken’s race against GOP incumbent Norman Coleman is important nationally. To get pro-worker bills through the Senate, workers and their allies need 60 votes, out of 100 senators, to cut off GOP filibusters. That includes a presumed GOP talkathon against the Employee Free Choice Act, which is designed to help level the playing field between workers and bosses in union organizing and bargaining first contracts...
- Independence Party candidates made the difference in the Bachmann and Paulsen races and definitely affected the Senate race, said Mark Froemke, president of the West Area Labor Council that spans the western half of the state. 'The Independence Party got a better number than I would have expected in this area,' he said. Negativity of campaign commercials in the final days of the Senate race also had an effect.
Campaigning for Obama in 2008
Mark Froemke actively campaigned for Barack Obama in 2008.
Supporting Obama health care plans
AFL-CIO delegates from Minnesota unions were enthused by President Obama’s speech to the labor federation’s national convention in September 2009.
“It’s the right shot of energy at the right time for working people,” said Russell Hess, a Laborer and secretary-treasurer of the Southeast Area Labor Council based in Rochester.
Delegates interviewed by Workday Minnesota said union members and working people across the country need to hear messages of hope in these difficult economic times.
“It’s easy to get discouraged,” said Louise Sundin, a teacher and delegate from the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation. “The president’s speech was very positive.”
“I think it was inspirational,” said Bill McCarthy, president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation. “It feels positive, exciting, like we’re moving forward.”
Bree Halverson, delegate from the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, also praised Obama’s energy. “I think the speech was amazing,” she said.
For the most part, delegates who were interviewed were pleased with Obama’s statements on health care, the economy and support for unions. Linda Hamilton, who supports single payer health care, said she believes Obama’s plan for a public option is a good first step.
“I felt exhilarated that we might finally get the health care that we need,” said Hamilton, a registered nurse and member of the Minnesota Nurses Association and United American Nurses.
Obama has reached out to labor – and now union members must respond, said Mark Froemke, a member of the Grain Millers union and delegate from the Western Area Labor Council in Crookston.
“It’s for us in the unions to push hard to make sure the public option (for health care) is there in the end,” he said.
Lobbying Democrats for healthcare
Minnesotans were well-represented at the June 25, 2009 Washington DC rally for health care reform. Among the union members urging Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Tim Walz and Rep. Collin Peterson to support health care reform that will "offer quality affordable health care to America now" were: Linda Slattengren, president of MNA, Laura Askelin, president of SE MN ALC, Mark Froemke, president of the Western Minnesota ALC and Tim Lovaasen, president of the CWA State Council.
Active in the D-F-L
Supporting Mark Dayton
- The time is now. We have an opportunity to build a Better Minnesota by electing Mark Dayton as Governor and all our other labor-endorsed candidates. But, we need your help. That’s why on Saturday, October 23, we’re kicking off 10 Days of Labor Action.
Breakfast for Dayton
- Anyone who has ever worked a campaign knows that the days start early and end very late. Today was no exception. Dana Anderson, our campaign manager and of course gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton, and I hit the road at 7:30 am for a week of talking to voters, working families and business owners – all of which are vital to helping our economy recover.
- A special thank you to Mark Froemke for helping to organize a breakfast with members of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 167G. We had a great conversation, and we really appreciate Mark’s help in putting this event together.
Working with Al Franken
U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., left, and Mark Froemke, an AFL-CIO representative, left the Grand Forks International Airport on Tuesday January 11, 2012, after Franken flew into Grand Forks to spend two days talking to locked-out American Crystal Sugar Co. workers in the Red River Valley. 
- WTO listening session, St. Paul, Minnesota June 7, 1999
- CPUSA Farm Commission report, Tim Wheeler, December 16, 1999
- CPUSA Farm Commission report, Tim Wheeler, December 16, 1999
- PW july 21, 2001, page 5
- People's World: Free trade scam:Its bad for workers everywhere, Nov. 14, 2003 (accessed on Nov. 17, 2010)
- People's World: Red states feeling blue over attack on Social Security, Feb. 11, 2005 (accessed on Nov. 17, 2010)
- Mark Ritchie's 2006 Campaign website: Supporters (cached by The Data Bank and accessed on Nov. 11, 2010)
- http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/2008_05_10_archive.html thoughts from podunk blog, May 10, 2008, Alan Maki]
- Minnesota euphoria over Obama win tempered by Senate recount, Peoples World, barb kucera, November 22, 2008
- Workday Minnesota, September 16, 2009
- Minnesota AFL-CIO blog, Minnesota Labor Leaders Lobby for Health Care Reform, Submitted by jhayssen on June 30, 2009
- Minnesta AFL-CIO blog October 21, 2010
- Team Dayton’s Updates from the Road!, March 3, 2010, Dayton campaign website
- [http://www.agweek.com/event/image/id/55223/headline/Sen.%20Al%20Franken,%20D-Minn.,%20and%20Mark%20Froemke/publisher_ID/40/AG WEEK, Published January 11, 2012, 12:00 AM Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Mark Froemke]