2023 Tom Rukavina Award

AFSCME Council 65 is proud to announce that Speaker of the Minnesota House, Melissa Hortman, is the recipient of this year's Thomas Rukavina Award for Leadership in Labor. For years, she has proven a strong ally for working families in Minnesota.  Following this year’s historic pro-worker legislative session, the labor movement has few champions like Speaker Hortman.

Throughout the 2022 election, she and her caucus campaigned proudly on topics important to workers in Minnesota. Things like Paid Family & Medical Leave, and access to Unemployment Insurance for school workers were front and center. Motivated by these issues, AFSCME members helped her deliver a pro-worker trifecta in Minnesota.

Under her leadership in the Minnesota House, that trifecta led to a historic 2023 legislative session. Among many other major accomplishments, Minnesota passed a historic set of new protections for all workers. You can learn about these victories on our 2023 legislative session review page.

Throughout this legislative session, she and her caucus were explicit, they were going to make transformative changes lifting up every Minnesotan. Her partnership with labor was strong and genuine, putting workers front and center. The many accomplishments from this session are not the last in this partnership but we can go forward knowing Speaker Hortman will continue to be one of the greatest allies of working people in Minnesota.

AFSCME Council 65 Executive Director presented the award to Speaker Hortman who had this to say,

“It’s an honor to receive the Thomas Rukavina Award for Leadership in Labor — an award named for a legislator who was an incredible inspiration for me,” said Speaker Hortman. “DFLers are focused on growing the middle class and putting workers first. I’m so proud of the historic pro-labor work we were able to do together during the 2023 Legislative Session and am grateful for AFSCME Council 65’s ongoing partnership.” 

Last year AFSCME Council 65 presented the first ever Thomas Rukavina Award to the family of Senator David Tomassoni.