Can't Win if you Don't Fight

“Union members know that freedom is not given, it’s fought for, and it must be protected.” ~Eliot Seide, AFSCME Council 5  

One Strong, United Voice for Workers

“Workers’ rights, human rights and civil rights are inextricably tied together. The world is more beautiful when we embrace our diversity so that we can all reach our human potential.”  

Established in April 1950, AFSCME Local 34 represents over 2000 Social Service employees of Hennepin County

Newsletter  (August, 2017)

President's Blog  (August, 2017)


Supreme Court upholds Dayton’s veto of Legislature’s budget

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of the Legislature’s operating budget, declining to referee a political dispute between two co-equal branches of government that it said could resolve the issue themselves.

The 5-1 decision handed the Democratic governor a major legal victory as he seeks to roll back Republican-backed tax breaks and other measures he opposed but signed into law anyway this spring as part of a new state budget. And it left the Legislature on uncertain financial footing. Dayton welcomed the ruling while GOP lawmakers expressed dismay.

The ruling overturned a lower court decision that deemed Dayton’s action unconstitutional. But the high court said the state constitution does not allow the courts to order funding for the Legislature without an appropriation. And it said the Legislature has the authority to tap enough money to continue operating — at least $26 million and up to $40 million — until it reconvenes Feb. 20. So it rejected the argument that Dayton violated the constitution by effectively abolishing the Legislature..,.

The ruling puts to rest a nearly six-month legal battle that poisoned relationships between the Democratic governor and top Republican leaders — while leaving the state’s new budget that Dayton sought to rework untouched. But the political battle is far from settled.

Dayton said it’s time for all sides to agree the dispute over his veto authority is settled and “resume working together for the best interests of Minnesota.” He said there was no need for GOP legislative leaders to sue him and impose the costs of their lawsuit on taxpayers...

Democratic House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman said the governor and Legislature need to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible.  

If they don’t remedy the “toxic” political environment, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk warned, the upcoming legislative session will be “the biggest do-nothing session we’ve ever seen.”. ~ excerps from Pioneer Press article 11/16/2017



Closed group: Email Amanda Abell for an invite



     AFSCME Local 34                                     Updated 11/17/2017


What "Patriotic Millionaires" and Union Workers Have in Common

ST., Minn. -- By all accounts, the new GOP tax plan would benefit corporations and the wealthiest Americans. And now some of those wealthy Americans are speaking out in opposition to the plan. 
They belong to a group called Patriotic Millionaires, which has said the plan would hurt the economy and batter an already damaged middle class. So Patriotic Millionaires is promoting an online tool called the Taxpayer Action Center. 

Erica Payne, the group's president, said it is essential for the middle class to participate in the debate.

"If these millionaire tax breaks go through, the middle class is going to pay for them,” Payne said. "So they need to get activated, and they need to impact this tax debate."

The new portal is at Payne said it's where people can look at data and analysis of tax policy, and connect directly with their elected officials as well as with others who share their concerns.

Patriotic Millionaires said it does have members in Minnesota, but no one who wants to be public. One union leader, AFSCME Council 5's Jennifer Munt, said Gov. Mark Dayton is an example of a wealthy individual who thinks tax policy should help the middle class.

"In Minnesota, our governor taxed the rich including his relatives,” Munt said. “And in Minnesota we know that when everybody pays their fair share and plays by the same rules, everybody has a better quality of life."

Munt said she welcomes the efforts of Patriotic Millionaires and whoever else is working to educate and organize the majority of Americans against changes in the tax code that would hurt them.

Proponents of the GOP bill say it will make the tax code simpler and encourage companies to keep jobs in the United States. But Munt and others say it would also explode the deficit.

"Working people, seniors and children are going to pay for these tax giveaways to corporations and the super-rich,” she said. "It's partisan gamesmanship that will force cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and public education. This tax bill is just another gift to the powerful corporate special interests who manipulate our politics and our politicians."

Republican legislative leaders say they hope to pass a new tax bill by Thanksgiving.
~ Laurie Stern, Public News Service (MN) (11/6/2017)



Unions Begin With You

Shout out to all of our city workers!

"The next time you enjoy a stroll along a clean street, turn on a tap and safe water comes out, or lie on the lawn in a park to read a book, spare a thought for and appreciate the municipal workers who make your city happen."

When working people come together, they make things better for everyone. Joining together in unions enables workers to negotiate for higher wages and benefits and improve conditions in the workplace. There are millions of union members in America from all walks of life. These individuals know that by speaking up together, you can accomplish more than you could on your own.

The Union Difference

Union members work together to negotiate and enforce a contract with management that guarantees the things you care about like decent raises, affordable health care, job security, and a stable schedule.

How Unions Work

Unions are teams of individuals coming together to guarantee the things you care about like decent wages, affordable health care, job security, safe and respectful workplaces, and fair scheduling.

Joining together in unions not only leads to better lives for you and your co-workers, but helps build a better America, now and for future generations.

Join a Union - Join AFSCME  


AFSCME Council 5 has a new executive director. John Westmoreland, the former assistant director, started his role November 1. He replaces Council 5’s founding director Eliot Seide, who is retiring.  

“Our union is in good hands,” Seide says. “Under John’s leadership, our union won’t miss a beat as we continue our program with energy and discipline.”  Westmoreland says he plans to meet with leaders of every local and build “a coalition of the willing.”  

“I want to empower people,” he says. “If I can do it, there’s no reason they can’t. If someone asks me a contract question, even if I know the answer, let’s look it up together. I’m not going to vend answers. I will help you find them. What do you need from me to be able to accomplish that goal? I don’t like fixing things – I like resolving them.”  

Westmoreland says he believes in building teams and relationships, good communication, methodical attention to detail and following through. He’s dedicated to our mission. “I’ve been a member for 32 years, I will always be a member,” he says. “I believe in our union. It is who I am.” Before he was Council 5’s assistant director, Westmoreland was the northern field director; a field representative for Council 5 and Council 6; and an elections project organizer. Prior to that, he worked as a correctional officer in Stillwater, where he served multiple roles in Local 600 from steward to president, served on the corrections Negotiations Master Team, chaired the Corrections Policy Committee and served on the Council 6 Executive Board.



John Herzog - WEB Developer

AFSCME Local 34, P.O. Box 15222, Commerce Station, Mpls., Mn. 55415 was first created on 4/29/2001. 

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