Minneapolis Pops Orchestra Free Concerts, Labor Movie Night, Street Festival, AFSCME Picnic. 


AFSCME International Converntion Hi-lites

The electricity that 4,000 AFSCME Convention delegates and alternates will generate in the Windy City this week will light the way for 1.6 million AFSCME sisters and brothers nationwide who are counting on a “bold, brave and determined” direction for the future.

President's Blog (July)

Newsletter  (July)

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Summary of 2013 and 2014 Legislation to Support Working Families

Member News (7/21)





Next Wave



AFSCME Council 5

"The ability for ordinary working people to organize and collectively bargain over their wages and working conditions is a fundamental human right, just like the right to free speech and the right to vote." ~ AFSCME Council 5

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36 Reasons We All Benefit From Unions


"We are all trade unionists. We are all civil rights activists. And it’s about time for all of us to get together and organize America like never before! It’s time to say to America, ‘We will not turn back now!” ~ Rev. Dr. William Barber

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Delta Dental

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Workers level the playing field when they organize!


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  Family and Medical Leave Act Employee Guide (pdf)

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Disciplined for Being Sick  Know your rights

Non-Discrimination and Respectful Workplace Policy

102 things not to do if you really hate taxes and government

Negotiations 2013

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John Herzog - WEB Developer

AFSCME - Promoting excellence in public services, dignity in the workplace with opportunity and prosperity for all!

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


AFSCME Local 34                      Updated 7/22/2014

Detroiters March against Water Shut-Offs

A thousand Detroiters and supporters marched through downtown Detroit July 18 to say “Turn on the Water!” The city has been sending shut-off trucks to the houses of those behind on their water bills, turning off the taps at 3,000 houses a week. Nearly half of all residents are behind on their water payments—a pool that is likely to expand further as the city continues to increase its water rates and cut public services, including welfare and public pensions. Wes Volkenant and Vicki Moore from AFSCME Local 34 participated in the march while attending the Netroots Nation Conference in Detroit.  

7/21 Update: Because of progressives in Detroit and around the country, we just won our first victory in the fight to protect water in Detroit. Today, the Detroit Water and Sewer Department announced a 15-day moratorium on shutting off water to residents with unpaid bills. But let's be clear - a 15-day moratorium is not enough. That's why thousands of us marched in the streets at Netroots Nation on Friday and thousands more signed a coalition petition demanding the federal government step in to solve the crisis. Not everyone is getting the same treatment. Corporations and big businesses, including General Motors and two sports arenas, have millions in unpaid water bills. But the city is leaving their water on, and instead is targeting low-income families who can't afford to pay the bill. This is unjust - and unhealthy. Water is a human right. No family should ever be without it.

Detroit's families need your help right now. Tell President Obama to declare a public health emergency in Detroit and get the water flowing again!

Property Taxes Reduced A non-partisan House Research report shows property taxes will drop by $49 million in 2014. It is the first decrease in property taxes since 2002. Increases in direct property tax relief passed in 2013 and 2014 to homeowners, renters and farmers more than exceed the increase in levies and will benefit about 1 million Minnesotans. This increase in direct property tax relief explains how overall property taxes are going down despite a small increase in overall tax levies. When Republicans were last in charge, they eliminated the Homestead Credit and in 2012, property taxes increased by $370 million.

Minnesota Jobs Up / Unemployment Down: Minnesota added 8,500 jobs in June, dropping the unemployment rate to 4.5 percent - the lowest rate in seven years. In total, Minnesota has added nearly 160,000 new jobs since Gov. Mark Dayton took office in January 2011. "June brought more positive signs of a recovering job market," said Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. The unemployment rate hasn't been this low since February 2007, while new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to their lowest level in nearly 14 years."

House Passes $11 Billion Highway Bill: The House of Representatives on Tuesday easily approved a bipartisan, short-term fix to the nearly depleted federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The vote was 367- 55, with 186 Democrats and 181 Republicans voting in favor of the bill. The bill authorizes funding to address the shortfall to the HTF and extends federal surface transportation programs through May of 2015. With just days to go before the scheduled August recess, the Senate is likely to ignore their own bill put forth by the Senate Finance Committee and instead vote on the House’s version. Passage in the Senate would obviate the need for negotiations between the House and Senate to iron out differences in the bills.

Staples, USPS Use Trickery to Try to Derail Boycott: 07/17/2014 - When the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) voted to join the ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ Movement on July 12, it struck fear into the hearts of Staples bosses and USPS management. So much so that just two days later Staples and the USPS resorted to trickery to try to derail the boycott. They announced they are terminating the no-bid deal and replacing it with an “approved shipper” program. The problem? “It’s a ruse,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Staples and the USPS are changing the name of the program, without addressing the fundamental concerns of postal workers and postal customers. Read more

To My Dear Brothers and Sisters of Local 34: I have formally submitted my resignation as Chief Steward of Local 34 effective 8/1/14 as I have accepted another position within Hennepin County. I am sad to leave Local 34 but am thrilled to start my new adventure.  

With that, the Executive Board will be seeking candidates to fill my shoes. According to our standing rules, the duties of the Chief Steward(s) are as follows:

(a) Recruit stewards (b) Arrange & conduct quarterly meetings with stewards (c) Arrange management meetings as necessary to avoid unnecessary grievances (d) Submit monthly newsletter articles as necessary (e) Attend regular & Special Executive Board and General Membership meetings (f) Gather and disseminate information through the steward system (g) Attend monthly Labor/Management Committee meetings (h) Serve on Membership Committee (i) Be responsible for the processing of all grievances.

This is the ‘official’ list. However, in the last three years these additional duties and tips are important and needed as well:

(a) Assign stewards to attend investigations as needed (b) Work with members directly to solve issues (c) Listen (d) Be supportive (e) Build relationships across the County at all levels (f) Member of Master Team for Negotiations and possibly Table Team member (g) Support your fellow Executive Board members (h) Don’t roll your eyes at Jean.

In solidarity, Dana Hanson 

If you have further questions about the role/duties of a Chief Steward, please email me at dana.hanson@hennepin.us.

Hennepin County Insurance Premium Holiday Proposed: The Hennepin County Board adopted a motion to have a three pay check holiday from paying health insurance premiums – both for the employees and the employer.  

What this means is that you will have no deduction for health insurance from the pay checks for August 1, August 15 and September 12. When the recommendation was originally made, it was for a two pay check holiday. The Chair of the Board, Commissioner Mike Opat, noted that we could afford a three pay check holiday.

It means that, depending on whether you chose an Advantage option or remained with the Standard option, those of us with single coverage will have an extra $20.93 - $37.50 more in our paychecks; those of us with employee plus spouse will have an extra  $156.91 - $195.85 per pay check; those with employee plus child(ren) will have $120.17 - $150.00 per  pay check; and those with employee plus spouse plus child(ren) will have an extra $172.67 - $218.24 per pay check. Multiply those amounts by three and that is how much more money you will have for your budget. 

This truly is good news. It means that we are all contributing to keeping our health care costs contained and it is a recognition of all our efforts to continue doing that. Feel free to share this with your coworkers. 

“Over the past five years, the county's health insurance premiums have been significantly less than the industry average and have reflected a 2% total increase versus the 8% industry average.  This extraordinary accomplishment could not have been achieved without the effective partnership between the county, health plan providers, union representatives and you, the employees who participate in the county's health insurance plan.” ~ Commissioner Mike Opat

Since this is a change to our contract, the membership will need to vote to accept a Memorandum of Understanding  on the insurance premium holiday. We will hold a special vote at our 8/6/14 General Assembly -  5:30 p.m. in HSB 110. ~ Jean Diederich, President, AFSCME Local 34


More than a thousand delegates to the 41st AFSCME International Union Convention hit the streets Wednesday in support of 12,000 Chicago cab drivers organizing as part of AFSCME Council 31. Delegates converged across the street from City Hall to show solidarity with the drivers, who are part of Cab Drivers United-AFSCME Council 31.

Hennepin County Requests for Proposals (RFPs) were done for our Hennepin County Dental and the Flexible Spending Accounts this year. The Dental provider for the next 5 years will be selected this summer from three finalists. There are two finalists for the FSA account, with a final recommendation being submitted to the County Board soon. Current provider HealthPartners is not one of the two finalists.

Hennepin County Phased Retirement Under PERA Continues to 2019: The 2014 Minnesota Session is over. The phased retirement option for PERA was approved through 2019, so if you have been thinking about easing into retirement while sharing your vast wealth of knowledge about the services and programs we provide with your coworkers, you should look into what this option entails. Contact Human Resources for further information.

Human Resources Updates: Human Resources updated the HR Manual to incorporate the changes in state statutes regarding extended uses for sick leave and extended leave for child birth/adoption. Both changes are effective 8/1/2014.

Education, Engagement and Outreach: Please join us in our next EEO meeting on August 18th from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at HSB 917. We will be discussing June’s Labor Lunch, Future Labor Lunch topics and times, Organizing, Workplace issues. Please let me know if you have anything to add to the agenda or any ideas about a future labor lunch. Thank you. ~ Heather Hemmer, AFSCME Local 34

Kick In, Then Kick Up Your Heels: Council 5’s Next Wave is planning its second annual Labor Ball for November. To help make the music, dancing and plain old community camaraderie happen, kick in with a donation. Checks can be made out to AFSCME Local 66 (with Labor Ball in the memo field). Send them to: AFSCME Local 66, 211 W. 2nd St., Duluth, MN 55802.

Website Adds Dental Information: Council 5’s website has added eligibility, benefit, and other information for AFSCME participants in the Delta Dental plan. The plan is available to about 5,000 members in Hennepin County Locals 34, 1719, and 2822; in Hennepin County Medical Center Local 977; in some job titles in HCMC Local 2474; and to Local 224 members at the City of Shorewood. Open enrollment is in November. 

Make a Difference at the Fair: Last year, AFSCME volunteers at the State Fair collected 6,000 post cards – jump-starting efforts to successfully raise the state’s minimum wage. We’re back this year, building support for transportation investment in Minnesota that supports our jobs and expands economic opportunity and quality of life for all.

How to join us: Volunteer for a shift at the Council 5 kiosk. Shifts run 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 12:30-4:30 p.m., or 4:30-7:30 p.m. To say thanks, we pay your admission and give you a T-shirt. The Fair runs Thursday Aug. 21 through Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 1). If there’s a shift that works for you, contact Council 5’s Michael Kuchta by email or by phone at 651-287-0537. 

Sometimes, You Feel Like Singing: The Twin Cities Labor Chorus leads an informal sing-along of labor songs new and old on Tuesday July 29. The second annual Labor Sing begins at 7 p.m. at the Minnesota AFL-CIO Labor Pavilion on the State Fairgrounds, Cooper St. and Dan Patch Avenue. The event is free and open to all. Voluntary donations will benefit the community services programs at the Minneapolis and St. Paul Regional Labor Federations. 

Have a great day and thank you for visiting our union's website!