The Peace Symbol Celebrates Its 57th Birthday, but Still No Peace

United Labor Center, 

 312 Central Ave. SE

Third Friday of the month, 6:00 pm 

Room 356 or 467

Snacks, beer and soda will be available during the films. Donations appreciated!

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

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America is not just a land of immigrants, it was built by “foreigners” to reinvent themselves. It's time for a reality check, America—"Remember always, that all of us, you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”

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A new series of wage increases has increased wages for full-time workers from $12.85 to $13 an hour and the average for part-time workers from $9.48 to $10 an hour. Is this a direct result of the workers movement demanding a more liveable wage?

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  Walmart will be raising all employees’ base wages to at least $10 an hour in hopes of enticing workers to better care for customer service. The company’s sales have been low lately, leaving the CEO responsible for making some positive changes.

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

AFSCME Local 34                   Updated 3/4/2015

General Membership meeting 3/4/15, 5:30, HSB 110 

March 8th is International Women's Day

"As we come marching, marching,in the beauty of the day

A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray

Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses

For the people hear us singing, Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses.

 

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days

The rising of the women means the rising of the race

No more the drudge and idler that toil where one reposes

But a sharing of life's glories, Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses”

 

 

Local 34 March Newsletteer is now posted on the website

Organize, Organize, Organize!

There are two reasons for you to become personally involved in organizing activity outside of your workplace. First, a healthy, effective union is one in which the members pitch in to do the work, greatly increasing the people resources of the union.

Second, no matter how skilled professional union staff may be - there is an extra measure of credibility when an already organized employee speaks directly to an unorganized worker about day-to-day experiences. The successes of member-to-member organizing are clear. Unions win representation elections in organizing drives conducted by ordinary members.

So let us all be missionaries – missionaries for solidarity, for organizing, for growing our unions and for the fights for justice. It’s not a new idea, but it’s the right idea. Organizing the unorganized is the highest priority for labor, and for all of our hopes for change.

AFSCME News!

Local 34 2015 Elections! Final nominations will be taken at the March 4th General Membership meeting. If you have been a dues paying member of Local 34 for one year, you are eligible to seek an office. Read the 2015 officer election notice. If you think you might be interested in any of these positions, please contact Nominations Chair  Vicki Moore or President Jean Diederich for more information.

Netroots Nation will be held in Phoenix, Arizona July 16 -19, 2015. The central topic for this year is immigration and social media’s ability to effect change in the existing policies. A motion was passed to send up to 2 members to this event. The delegates will be elected at the March 4th General Assembly meeting. Please plan to attend that meeting to put your name forward and to let us know your plans for utilizing the experience and knowledge gained to help our local continue our growth.

Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Dinner! An annual dinner, held in March, benefits the scholarship program. The Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to racial minority union members and their families who wish to pursue an education at one of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Higher education supporters, labor union activists, legislators and students participate in the event. The dinner honors the student recipients and Nellie Stone Johnson. The next NSJ Scholarship Dinner will be held on March 26, 2015 at the Prom Center in Oakdale, Minnesota. The evening will begin at 5:30pm with a Reception and Silent Auction and Dinner and our Program will begin at 6:30 pm. Local 34 has purchased a table for 8 and will select members to attend the dinner at the March 4 General Membership meeting.

Survival Training for Your Local! Regional trainings take place the first week of March to help local leaders strengthen members’ allegiance to each other and our union. The trainings will hash out practical steps to fight court threats that would undermine the ability of AFSCME members to provide a good life for themselves and their families. Metro area training takes place in South St. Paul: Friday March 6, AFSCME Council 5 office, 300 Hardman Ave. S.  The training is from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The training is free, but reservations are required – Contact Jackie O’Shea by email or by phone at 651-287-0524.

Use Google to Your Advantage! Friday March 6 is the deadline to register for a new skills class from the Labor Education Service. The class gives an overview of how to use the vast array of Google products for union and personal tasks. The noncredit class will cover Google Docs (creating and editing documents), Google Drive (saving and sharing files), YouTube (videos), Picasa (photos), Google+ (similar to Facebook), Slides (presentations), Hangouts (live video meetings), and Blogger (web journaling). Details: “The Wonderful World of Google” will be taught on Saturday March 14, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., in Carlson Room L-117 on the University of Minnesota’s West Bank campus in Minneapolis. Tuition is $50. You can register by email or by phone at 612-624-5020

Next Wave! The AFSCME Next Wave program is an organization aimed at AFSCME members who are 35 years of age and younger, who are building the union movement. Upcoming meetings will be held from 11:00 - 3:00 on March 7, May 9, July 11, September 12 and November 14 (Saturdays) in the Hennessey room at the AFSCME Council 5 office. Kenneth Garnier (Local 34 member) will be co-chairing the meetings.

 

EEO Meeting: Greetings from the Education and Engagement and Outreach Committee of AFSME Locals: 34, 552, 1719, 2822, 2864, 2938 in Hennepin County. Our next meeting is Monday March 9th, 2015 from 5:30-7:00 pm in Room 111 in the Health Services Building. We would like to invite you to attend and hope to see you there. *Also: Please remember to mark your calendar for the Next Labor Lunch which will be on March 19th from noon to 1:00 in the Hennepin County Government Center Auditorium. On behalf of the EE&O Committee I wish you all the best. ~ Norm Meier

 

E Board Seeks to Fill Vacancy! AFSCME Council 5’s Executive Board is accepting nominations to fill a vacancy in East Metro District 5. Nominees must live Dakota, Goodhue, Ramsey, or Washington County (or work in one of the counties if they do not live in Minnesota). The term runs through fall 2016. Submit names to: AFSCME Council 5 Elections Committee, 300 Hardman Ave. S, South St. Paul, MN 55075. The application deadline is Friday March 13.

Off -the-Clock - Working for Free! Thursday, March 19th, 12:00 - 1:00 , Hennepin County Government Center Auditorium, Pizza will be provided. Working-off-the-clock has become a growing concern for workers around the County. In many departments vacant positions leave existing employees with more work than they can complete in a 40 hour work week. Fearing discipline or termination, many of us are forgoing breaks and not reporting the actual number of hours we work. The pressure to do more with less is forcing people to work for free and to do so in silence. Through education and action, front-line workers around the County are organizing to break this silence. To this end we have launched two initiatives: Know Your Time, a mock time-sheet that allows you to calculate the money you lose by working unreported hours and forgoing breaks and Off-the-Clock, Without Pay, a facilitated conversation hosted by the Education, Engagement and Outreach Committee about the culture of working for free and how to stop it. Off the clock is part of our ongoing Labor Lunch series.  ~ Alessandra Fuhrman, AFSCME Local 2822

Month of Service - Keeping the Dream Alive! Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis in 1968 after marching with our fellow AFSCME members, the sanitation workers who were on strike as they fought to improve their lives by improving their working conditions. To commemorate the sacrifices of the sanitation workers and Dr. King, Council 5 is organizing a “month of service” this spring. The goal is a unified, statewide effort showing how we AFSCME members improve lives in our communities when we are off the clock. The plan is for members to take part in a volunteer or community service activity where we work or live between March 25th and April 24th.  It all concludes with a one-day project and celebration in the Twin Cities on Saturday April 25. We can do this with coworkers, families and friends and may be some-thing that we are already doing such as keeping our block clean, serving in a food kitchen, helping at your child’s school, etc. Here's a list of ideas!

 

Women’s Retreat! Local 34 elected 6 members to attend the U of MN L.E.S. Union Woman’s Retreat at Ruttger’s Bay, April 22-25: Tywanna Gray, Kay Powell, Deb Konechne, Sharon Streeter, Elizabeth Allison and Deb O’Neill.

 

Minnesota Legialative Update

February Economic Forecast! The state can look forward to a nearly $1.87 billion surplus in the next biennium, Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB) announced on Friday. The February Budget and Economic Forecast shows an increase of $832 million over the surplus projected in the November forecast. The twice-annual forecast from MMB provides a snapshot of the state’s economy and predicts if the state should have a projected surplus or budget deficit. MMB bases its projections on economic growth estimates, along with tax and spending patterns. The new biennium begins on July 1, 2015.  

After the announcement, Governor Dayton indicated he would be putting together a supplemental budget, which will include a recommendation that $50 million be set aside to implement the recommendations of the child protection task force.  He is expected to release his supplemental budget during the week of March 9. 

A Much Better Minnesota! Education and Transportation: Governor Dayton has made it very clear what his top priorities are this session. After learning that Minnesota’s state budget surplus has almost doubled, to nearly $1.9 billion, Governor Dayton’s legislative priorities have not changed. Here is what you need to know about what the Governor said, and what it means for the next phase of this legislative session. Minnesota is truly a success story. With more than 182,000 new jobs added since 2011, the 5th-lowest unemployment rate in the nation, rising high school graduation rates, and a nearly $1.9 billion state budget surplus, it’s hard to argue otherwise. Still, there is a lot more work to do to connect more Minnesotans with good-paying jobs, ensure all Minnesota children receive excellent educations, fix our aging roads and bridges, improve our transit systems, and secure an even brighter future for all Minnesotans. 

Workers, Legislators Support Bill to Modernize Workplace Scheduling Laws!  Looking to ensure workers have a voice in how much and when they work, a coalition of worker advocacy groups, social justice organizations, labor unions and workers joined together with Rep. Rena Moran to introduce the Fair Scheduling Legislation. The legislation, designed to bring Minnesota’s workplace scheduling laws into the 21st century, would require employers to provide employees with adequate notice of their work schedules and provide employees with compensation when a regular or on-call shift is cancelled within 24-hours. Read more.

House and Senate DFL Leaders Unveil Working Parents Act! House DFL Leader Paul Thissen, Senate President Sandy Pappas, and several DFL legislators unveiled the Working Parents Act, a legislative package aimed at providing greater opportunity and economic security to millions of Minnesotans. The package responds to the real challenges facing working parents and all Minnesotans in an economy that is tilted against them. As an example, the number of dual-income families and single working parents has grown significantly in Minnesota, yet workplace policies haven’t kept up, often putting working parents in the position of caring for a loved one or forgoing a paycheck. House DFL Leader Paul Thissen said responding to these core challenges of work and family is the best way Minnesota can restore balance for Minnesota parents who are seeking economic security and a better life. Maybe you work at a restaurant, a nursing home, or a retail store.  Maybe your daughter does. Or your neighbor. You know people who are working hard every day but falling behind every year. The Working Parents Act will make more possible for them and the million Minnesotans who want to care for their families and keep their paychecks. Read more.

Bad Bills, Bad Bills - What You Gonna' Do? A slew of bad bills have been introduced to give tax breaks to billionaires and corporate giants – all at the expense of hardworking families who are struggling to get ahead in Minnesota. The first bill Republicans introduced is a $250 million tax cut that largely benefits corporations and wealthy special interests. Their plan cuts income taxes for the owners of businesses, but offers not a dime of relief for the employees whose wages have stagnated. Another bad bill would repeal the estate tax for wealthy families who inherit more than $1.2 million. Worst of all is a plan to phase out corporate property taxes – with a whopping price tag of $1.8 billion. These expensive tax cuts would break the bank and put the state back on a budget rollercoaster. Of course, we all want our Minnesota businesses to prosper. But helping the rich get richer at the expense of the middle class simply is not an effective strategy to grow Minnesota’s economy. Now that Govvernor Dayton has balanced the state budget, it’s time to invest wisely in education, programs, services and infrastructure to create a better Minnesota where everyone can prosper. Ask your legislators to stop the tax breaks for billionaires and big businesses. Helping the rich get richer at the expense of the middle class is simply wrong.

Tip Penalty! Recently, on a party line vote, a legislative committee voted to send a  tip penalty bill to the House floor. This bill would repeal, lower, and freeze the minimum wage for tipped workers. We don’t freeze the price of groceries, why would we freeze the minimum wage? The bill would impose a lower, tip penalty wage on workers such as restaurant servers. Tips should be a reward for good service, not an excuse to pay workers less. Note: An estimated 48,000 servers, bartenders and other tipped employees could see their wages cut if the legislation passes, according to 2013 employment data compiled by the state. The majority of these workers are women.

Freeze the Minimum Wage! House Republicans renewed their attacks on hardworking Minnesotans by advancing a bill to cut and freeze the minimum wage for tens of thousands of Minnesota workers.  Republicans pay lip service to supporting hardworking Minnesotans and claim their top priority is increasing wages for Minnesota families, but their actions speak louder than their words.

 

First, the Federal Communications Commission voted to classify broadband internet as a Title II telecommunication utility. This means that strong net neutrality rules will be put in place that will require all traffic on the Internet to be treated equally. There will be no “fast lane” deals for large corporations.  

Second, President Barack Obama rejected a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. This was only the third time in his presidency that he has used his veto power. Since being proposed six years ago, the pipeline has been protested by environmental activists all over the country, who have staged countless marches and actions to promote awareness about the negatives and grossly-exaggerated positives associated with the project.  

Although both of these issues are far from over, these victories illustrate the power of social awareness and activism. When we come together for a united cause we can accomplish things that seem impossible. These victories give us reason not to give up and give in to the powers of corruption. ~ Nation of Change

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