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One Strong, United Voice for Workers

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

 

  Newsletter (June, 2017)

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AFSCME has made a commitment to getting back to organizing basics, building power at the grassroots level and hearing the unique concerns of every public service worker in one-on-one conversations. As a union, we will never quit fighting for the respect and opportunity public service workers deserve, because public service workers never quit on our communities.~ AFSCME

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     AFSCME Local 34                   Updated 6/25/2017

 

Tentative agreement on a new two-year contract for State of Minnesota employees includes a 2 percent raise effective July 1; another 2.25 percent raise on July 1, 2018; and steps both years.  That means employees with annual step increases could see their pay increase by 9.25 percent by the time the proposed contract expires June 30, 2019. AFSCME’s master bargaining team is unanimously recommending ratification.  Their recommendation first goes to the elected Delegate Assembly on July 28.  Members then will vote on the contract proposal in August. The tentative agreement also includes significant improvements in health and dental insurance.  Combined with raises and steps, workers will get ahead economically with this proposed contract. The proposed contract also guarantees six weeks of paid parental leave, a benefit that will save the average state employee $6,200 in lost wages and give parents priceless time to bond with newborn and adopted children.  The employer estimates that 500 mothers and fathers will take advantage of this recruitment and retention benefit each year.

Minneapolis minimum wage proposal: A four year grassroots campaign to enact a $15 per hour minimum wage in the city of Minneapolis is approaching a dramatic conclusion. The City Council's final vote on the $15 minimum wage proposal was scheduled for Friday, June 30 at 9:00 a.m.  

Seward Co-op workers support unionization: Seward Co-op workers organizing with UFCW Local 653 submitted union authorization cards signed by 220 workers to the National Labor Relations Board June 7 - 75 percent of the employees.  

Summer pops concerts: The 68th season of free outdoor concerts presented by the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra begins Saturday, July 1 with a 7:30 p.m. performance at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. The members of the Pops Orchestra are members of the Twin Cities Musicians Union Local 30-73. The Pops' Lake Harriet concerts will continue through July 30, with performances Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays 5:30 p.m.  

Free outdoor Minnesota Orchestra concerts: The Minnesota Orchestra's "Symphony for the Cities" series will present four free outdoor concerts in July. The Orchestra will perform Monday, July 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lake Harriet Bandshell in Minneapolis. The Orchestra will perform Wednesday, July 5 at 8:30 p.m. at the Hilde Performance Center in Plymouth. The members of the Minnesota Orchestra are members of the Twin Cities Musicians Union Local 30-73.  

The "Labor Movie Night" film series at the East Side Freedom Library will screen "Brothers on the Line" (USA, 2012, 81 minutes) Tuesday July 11, at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free. The award-winning documentary tells the story of the Reuther brothers — Walter, Roy, and Victor — and their role in the founding and growth of the United Auto Workers union.

Executive Director Retirement: Council 5 Executive Director, Eliot Seide, has announced his intent to retire after serving our labor movement for the past 38years. He intends to continue serving in his position until a new director is hired and will be part of the transition period once we have a new person in place. The Council 5 Executive Board, by terms of our Council 5 Constitution, is the hiring entity for this position. President Judy Wahlberg will head up the Hiring Committee which is comprised of the four Chair Officers - President Wahlberg, Vice President Mike Lindholt, Secretary Mary Falk & Treasurer Nickson Nyankabaria – plus ten Executive Board members - Jeff Couillard, Gerald Firkus, Dennis Frazier, Pat Guernsey, Jennifer Guertin, Eric Hesse, Cherrene Horazuk, Delphine Steiner, Jacqueline Terry and Jean Diederich. The job will be posted nationally. We have a series of meetings scheduled between now and September to work on the hiring process, review applications and conduct initial interviews of applicants. The final interview of candidates will be conducted by the full Council 5 Executive Board in September. This will be a daunting process as we look to find someone to fill the HUGE shoes being vacated by Director Seide. He helped to guide us through our merger into Council 5 over 11 years ago and has served as our mentor, guide, lodestone, leader, spokesperson, cheerleader, role model, chief cook & bottle washer over that time as we grew into the strong, effective Council that we are today.  

AFSCME Scholarship Winner: Congratulations to Asia Yang, child of Sirynoise Yang from our local, winner of a 2017 AFSCME Family Scholarship. Asia is graduating from Roseville Area High School this year. If we obtain permission to do so we will run Asia's essay in next month's newsletter.  

AFSCME Summer Picnic: Save the date - Sunday, August 20, 2017 - for the AFSCME Family Picnic. It will be held from 1:00- 5:00 PM at Battle Creek Regional Park in Maplewood. All members and their families are welcome to attend. Burgers, hot dogs and soft drinks will be provided. The first 100 kids will receive free Water Park tickets. Please bring other foods and desserts to share. Volunteers are needed to help with the various activities and duties. Please contact Duane Gatzke at 651-472-2787 or kkirk77@dg@comcast.net if you have questions or are able to volunteer. He would love to hear from you!

Thank You: Thank you to Leah Hicks, Tequia Brown and Wes Volkenant for their service to our local. They have promoted to a job class out of our bargaining unit. Leah served as one of our Good & Welfare contacts. Tequia served as a steward. Wes served as a Membership Secretary, Vice President and Newsletter Editor. We are grateful for their hard work on our behalf over the course of their years as members of our local. Please join me thanking them for that service and wishing them well with their new job classification.

The Minnesota Union Leadership Program (MULP) is taking applications for the 2017 - 2018 class. This program is coordinated by Labor Education Services (LES) and is offered in cooperation with the Minnesota AFL-CIO. Staff from LES lead the training which has experienced speakers from the labor movement and allied community. Participants in the program gain and develop leadership skills as they build relationships and network with their classmates. The course consists of six days of classes beginning with a two day session in October 2017 followed by four one day sessions between December 2017 and May 2018.  

Local 34 will once again sponsor members to be part of the 2017 - 2018 series if their application is accepted by LES. You must complete the application which can be found at https://carlsonschool.umn.edu/LES. If your application is approved, LES will then contact our local to see if we will support your participation in the program. That support consists of covering the $1500.00 tuition as well as lost time, mileage and parking to attend all six sessions of the program. Local 34's request is that any member who submits an application make a firm commitment to attend & fully participate in all six days of the program AND make a firm commitment to participate in Local 34 union activities.

AFSCME Organizing Days/Labor Lunches

Who: All are welcome! Anyone who wants to learn more about or get a feel for union organizing or get more involved in our union.

When: One day in the months of February, March, May, June, August, September, November

How: Let Deb Konechne know. Ask for the day off, take Special Leave Without Pay (SLWOP) and our union pays your day’s wages.

Upcoming Dates/Locations:  

  • August 16 - West Hub

  • September 14 - North Hub / Northpoint

  • November - South Hub

Local 34 will continue our efforts to develop Member Action Teams (MAT) during 2017. The structure is aimed at fostering communication, networking and organizing for our members. Our goal is to have 80 MAT leaders by the end of 2017. Contact Deb Konechne, Local 34 Membership Secretary for more information and to express your interest in becoming a MAT leader. Contact Deb at deblkon@yahoo.com or Deborah.Konechne@hennepin.us or call her at 612-816-4321.  

 

John Herzog - WEB Developer

afscme34@aol.com

AFSCME Local 34, P.O. Box 15222, Commerce Station, Mpls., Mn. 55415

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