“It takes strength to stand alone,..it takes courage to lean on another…”

Local 34 Organizing and Training Days

We still have organizing and training days that our union local members may participate in.  So far, we have held four organizing/training days and have gained great information and talked to hundreds of our coworkers and members. You may participate in one, or as many as you wish. Please RSVP for date that works for you. Remember, you will be paid your days wages by the union for participating. 

Here is the schedule for upcoming organizing days - please let me know which of these you would be interested/able to attend: 

  • May 11th- Brookdale

  • May 12th- Century Plaza

  • June 9th – Augsburg Library in Richfield

  • June 21st- HSB (tentative location)

Even though the Freiderich’s Decision at the Supreme Court did not pass recently due to a tie vote, the wealthy special interests have multiple other cases in lower courts, making their way to the Supreme Court, that could destroy our unions.  Also these same wealthy people and corporations continue to turn state after state into Wisconsin-style, “right to work” (for less) states one by one.  We need to build our strength to withstand these attacks on public sector workers and unions such as ours. 

Please consider attending one our Local 34 AFSCME organizing and training days and passing the info to your teams and fellow coworkers. You will get paid your day’s wages by the union as “Lost Time” and as a union member you have the right to take time for union activities. You merely notify or request from your supervisor in advance (if you typically do that) that you will be taking the day off (much like a vacation day).  

Lunch is provided and parking/mileage costs are also covered. I will send you details on how to get wages and parking paid once you RSVP that you will attend a date. RSVP is also important so we have lunch and materials to accommodate all.  

Many of you may have heard that as workers - especially those of us in the public sector - we are under attack. The attacks are coming from wealthy special interests and corporate interests that are deliberately trying to dismantle unions in our country. Cases are in waiting to be brought to the US Supreme Court that would jeopardize our ability to exercise our rights at work. These are deliberate attacks on public sector unions because our unions get us much better wages and benefits than non-union jobs. Much of our focus in the next months will be to connect with our coworkers and educate each other on what we are up against as workers and how we can defend our rights and strengthen our unions. 

Thank you so much for all you do to defend our union and serve our communities! 

In solidarity, Deb Konechne, Membership Secretary, Local 34




AFSCME walked out of a meeting with County Administrator David Hough and Labor Relations Director Kathy MeGarry after Local 2822 President Lynn Stetler read them the letter below. 

"We will stand in solidarity with our county attorneys who had their good faith contract settlement denied a vote by the county board. We will stand with our brothers & sisters in Locals 2822 and 34 who continue to be harassed for doing the work of the Union!"

March 16, 2016

Dear Mr. Hough

In the summer of 2015 there was an investigation in the Administrative Services Division of HSPHD. As a result of this investigation several supervisors and managers resigned from the county. Since that investigation concluded, we have become aware of acts of retaliation perpetrated on some of our members who provided information for the investigation. Retaliation would include but is not limited to frivolous investigations, harassment of union officers, denial of step increases, failure of some individuals to complete probation, and involuntary transfers.  

These actions run counter to the county’s policy of diversity and respect.  They ignore long-standing adherence to our collective bargaining agreements and are creating an atmosphere of unfair labor practices. Furthermore, whistle-blowing is a protected activity under federal law. We have raised our concerns to Human Resources, Labor Relations and the Assistant County Administrator of HSPHD to little avail. The harassment and disparate treatment continue. We want the unfair treatment of our members to stop. Further, we ask that investigations at the next layer of management begin immediately. Many of these current supervisors are modeling those same behaviors of those who resigned and no one is holding them accountable.  But our members who work under these supervisors are afraid to speak for fear of retaliation. They have witnessed what can happen when you speak out.  

Our sisters and brothers who work in the Public Safety Facility of local 2822 aren’t getting the differential that was bargained in negotiations. In fact, the employer claims that they misunderstood what they agreed to; despite the fact all issues brought to the table were discussed in detail and repetitively for multiple full day bargaining sessions before any tentative agreements were made. There is no grounds or excuses for the employer to renege on the agreement made during bargaining. To date employees are not being paid what the employer negotiated and grievances are filed.  

Our sisters and brothers who are COPE Coordinators in Local 34, the employer is also reneging on the agreed upon settlement that occurred during bargaining. The employer has repeatedly made agreements that they were well informed of and spent time collecting information on during bargaining however, now claim they didn’t understand. This is not the Union’s fault and our members will not suffer the employer refusing to implement the agreements that were mutually bargained.  

Our sisters and brothers working for the County Attorney have yet to see their negotiated agreement and subsequent raises due to continued missteps by the employer in bargaining. Including reaching a tentative agreement that the County Board is refusing to accept and implement. We bargained and behaved in good faith the employer should do the same.  

Our sisters and brothers who work in library have been notified that the employer’s new staffing strategy includes putting all 2822 job classes in the library on probation. Furthermore, the new staffing strategy proposes to implement an “Aide” job class proposed to earn $9.00/hour and they will no longer be represented by AFSCME. This is just 3 months after negotiating and implementing a $15.00/hour minimum wage for Hennepin County workers. The $15.00/hour was something both Union and the County board stated they were proud of. We are insulted.   

Our strong Stewards are being singled out by the employer. Stewards in both local 2822 and 34 have been interviewed by management per the direction of labor relations, to illegally discuss, direct and attempt to regulate steward activity. We are shocked at the behavior by the employer. We are insulted at the mistrust and abuse of our relationship that this union has worked so hard to maintain.  

Hennepin County has shown that it has bargained in bad faith repeatedly since settling the contract in 2015. We currently have members, activists and stewards who have raised issues and have suffered retaliation, loss in pay and repeated unfair treatment by numerous departments. 

The labor relations director made the statement that there has been an uptick in union activity. There has been no uptick in union activity, we have merely responded to the repeated and numerous attacks on our members, our wages, our working conditions and the disrespectful treatment by Hennepin County management. We have always valued the relationship between labor and management but it seems that value is not reciprocated. Don't forget, Hennepin County works because WE DO.  

As you are well aware, AFSCME has never backed away from a fight. We will do whatever it takes to see these changes be made. These attacks must stop. Front line supervisors and management need clear direction to immediately cease the targeting, the retaliation and the unfair treatment on our union activists and leaders.  

In Solidarity,  Lynn Stetler, 2822, Jean Diederich, 34, Cathy Brennan, 2864 , William Mondale, 2938 , Pat Guernsey, 552, Dale Blom, 1719



   AFSCME Local 34             Updated 5/4/2016

General Membership meeting - May 4, 2016, 5:30 p.m. - Health Services Buildinbg, Room L14/L15

This & That

Hello all - First, thank you all for your many kind words on the loss of my brother. Your expressions of sympathy have made our loss much easier to bear.    

President's Blog, - March 2016.

Officer election results:  I have contacted and received responses from all of the candidates for our 2016 officer elections so I can now  share the results with you.

Our new Treasurer will be Paul Madison. 

Our new Members-at-Large will be Brittany Bullock, Brenda Louise and Kay Powell.

They will take their oath of office at the May 4, 2016 General Assembly along with the other officers and stewards who begin their terms of office this month. Please join me in thanking Angel Alexander for putting her name forward for the Treasurer  position and Christina Eichorn for putting her name forward for the Member-at-Large  position. We are very fortunate to have members who care enough about their fellow members to run for office. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote.   

Retirement: One of our longtime members, officers and activists, Vicki Moore, is retiring this month.  She asked that I share her retirement party flyer and invites you to her retirement party on May 26, 2016 at Memory Lanes.  If you are not able to join her, please send her best wishes for a long and happy retirement. 

  • When: Thursday, May 26 4:00 – 9:00 p.m.

  • Where: Memory Lanes, 2520 S. 26th Avenue, Minneapolis

  • Questions: Kate Sagness @ 612-702-1787

  • Gift Contributions: Annie Crawford @612-348-4308 or Annie.Crawford@co.hennepin.mn.us

Please come, celebrate Vicki Moore’s retirement at Memory Lanes Bowling Alley (Party room). Bowling, drinks, menu food on your own and cake provided. Please come with your favorite Vicki story, moment or picture to share. A well wish book will be present to sign & send her on her way. Thank you, Vicki, for your many years of service to our members and to the residents of Hennepin County.  You deserve the best as you retire.  

Officers not returning this year are Patrick Regan, outgoing Treasurer, and Jacquelin Poole, outgoing Member-at-Large. And by outgoing, I mean that both literally and figuratively as they both enjoy talking to folks!!!  Please join me in thanking them for their many years of service to our members. Pat has spent hundreds of hours toiling over our financial books – making sure that all our bills have been paid and forms filed with the necessary agencies such as the MN Dept. of Revenue, the IRS and DEED. His work has been stellar. Jacquelin has served on a number of committees and workgroups for our local with the result that members have been informed of union rights, benefits and activities.  Anytime we have had a need for a Member-at-Large to help, she has been one of our volunteers. Thank you to both Pat and Jacquelin. May your time with the County as non-officers be pleasant.   

Reminder that we have three important votes at our May 4, 2016 General Assembly will be held in HSB L14/L15, HSB,525 Portland Ave, Minneapolis MN at 5:30 PM. This is our annual installation of officers and stewards meeting. Food will be provided.   

We will hold elections for two events: Netroots Nation held in St Louis, Missouri on July 14 – 17, 2016 and our AFSCME International Convention held in Las Vegas, Nevada July 18 – 22,  2016. Nominations and election for both events will take place at that meeting. If you are interested in putting your name forward for either event and cannot attend the meeting, please contact me with that request by no later than 12:00 noon on 5/4/16.  

We will also vote on a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) regarding the COPE Coordinator shift differential.  The language was sent to your home address via US mail yesterday. 

New names have been added for folks in need of vacation/PTO donations. Having been the recipient of those donations years ago, I know that your donation is greatly appreciated and welcomed.  Thank you in advance for any help you can give.  

Newsletter Editor – we are still in need of replacement for Wes Volkenant. If you think that this is something you might be interested in, please let me know. Keep in mind that this a job that can be shared with another member.  We will interview applicants for this position at our May 18, 2016 Executive Board meeting. Interested members are asked to send me a sample of their writing for the Executive Board officers to review prior to that meeting. The job comes with a $130.00 per month stipend for the time spent on putting the newsletter together each month. I am working on the current edition and can attest that you will earn that stipend!  

The March/April/May newsletter is almost complete. It will be forwarded to you as soon as the finishing touches are completed and spellcheck is done.    

Chief Steward Update: Tywanna Gray will be taking a Leave of Absence from the position of Co-Chief Steward beginning 4/18. Mara Ssengendo will be filling in as Co-Chief Steward during this time. All steward related communications should be direc6ted to Kela Williams and Mara Ssengendo. If someone expresses interest in becoming a steward, he/she must be a full member for at least one year. Please have him/her contact the Chief Stewards. Please direct steward assistance requests and questions via e-mail only to both Chief Stewards and they will contact the member.  

PERA: One of the issues that has been on the table at the Capitol for the past few sessions is our pension - PERA. PERA has a new Executive Director, Doug Anderson. It is gratifying to read in the most recent issue of PERAgraph, the newsletter of the General Plan of PERA, that Mr. Anderson is a strong proponent of our current defined benefit plan. He states that he believes a defined benefit plan provides more benefits at a lesser cost because you have a larger investment return over a longer period of time. This is what our lobbyists from AFSCME have been saying for years as we work to maintain a plan that is sustainable and healthy. And this is one of the reasons why we hold Day on the Hill each year and why we must remain politically active.  

Student Debt Relief Clinic sponsored by AFSCME Council 5: This was such a popular workshop that folks have asked for more of them.  Our Council 5 Education staff heard your request and have scheduled more of them. If you are interested in attending one of the workshops, please register. Registration is Required! Register with Melinda at melinda.pearson@afscmemn.org. This clinic will give you resources to consolidate your loans, apply for Income Driven Repayment Programs and learn if you qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness! Clinic dates: May 17, June 1 and June 14, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM. Location: AFSCME Council 5 Office, 300 Hardman Avenue South, South St. Paul.

I hope to see you at this Wednesday’s General Assembly to join me in congratulating the new officers and stewards as they take their oath of office.  Food with a south of the border flavor will be served as we anticipate the Cinco de Mayo celebration the following day.    

~ Jean Diederich, AFSCME Local 34 President (5/2/2016)






Racial Uplift in a Jim Crow Local: Black Union Organizing in Minneapolis Hotels in the 1930s: The East Side Freedom Library (1105 Greenbriar Street, St. Paul)  invites you to a presentation by Luke Mielke, Macalester College Honors Student and Labor Activist. Learn about the courageous and creative efforts to local African American waiters during the Great Depression to unionize. They sought not only to achieve economic security but also to create the working conditions in which they would be treated with respect by employers and customers alike. For the past two years, Luke has dug relentlessly into newspapers, union records, and oral histories, not just locally but also in Detroit, New York, and Chicago. He has unearthed a great labor history story. Come hear it! May 5 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm - Free

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at the Government Center May 5: You're invited to celebrate Cinco De Mayo at the Government Center with musical group Trio Mexico. The event takes place Thursday, May 5, from noon to 1 p.m. on the Public Service Level. Learn how the Battle of Puebla, a victorious battle led by Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin over French forces on May 5, 1862, has become a celebrated holiday. The celebration is sponsored by Project Diversity's Latino/Hispanic Cultural Committee.  

Hennepin County AFSCME Union Social! Hosted by EEO, Education, Engagement, and Outreach - Friday, May 6 at 5:00 PM - El Nuevo Rodeo Restaurant - 2709 E Lake Street, Minneapolis. Please share this post with your fellow workers!

 NALC Food Drive: The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive will be held on Saturday, May 14 – put food by your mailbox that morning. The NALC National Food Drive is the outgrowth of a tradition of community service exhibited repeatedly by members of the letter carriers union over the years. These carriers, who go into neighborhoods in every town six days a week, have always been involved when something needed to be done, whether it be collecting funds for a charity like the Muscular Dystrophy Association, watching over the elderly through the Carrier Alert program, assisting the American Red Cross during time of disaster, or rescuing victims of fires, crime, and other mishaps. For many years, a number of branches had collected food for the needy as part of their community service effort. The national, coordinated effort by the NALC to help fight hunger in America grew out of discussions in 1991 by a number of leaders at the time, including NALC President Vincent R. Sombrotto, AFL-CIO Community Services Director Joseph Velasquez and Postmaster General Anthony Frank. A pilot drive was held in 10 cities in October of 1991, and it proved so successful that work began immediately on making it a nationwide effort.  

Second Harvest Heartland - Stamp Out Hunger – Volunteer with us on Saturday, May 14, as we partner with the National Association of Letter Carriers and Cub Foods to orchestrate the nation's largest, single-day food drive: Stamp Out Hunger.  

Other Events to Keep in Mind

  • May 5, 2016: Sixth Annual Labor Bowl at the Midway Pro Bowl, St Paul

  • May 14, 2016: NALC Stamp out Hunger food drive - leave a bag of groceries by your mailbox

  • May 20, 2016: "Blood Fruit", 6:00 PM, Room 356, United Labor Center, 312 Central Ave SE, Mpls. 

  • June 17, 2016: "Pride" shown at 6:00 PM at East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier St, St. Paul

  • July 15, 2016: "The Organizer", 6:00 PM, Room 356, United Labor Center, 312 Central Ave SE, Mpls. 

  • July 14 -17, 2016: Netroots Nation, St Louis, Missouri

  • July 18 - 22, 2016: AFSCME 42nd Annual International Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada

  • August 12 -14 & 19 - 21, 2016: Working Partnerships booth at the Game Fair near Anoka

  • August 19, 2016: "Matewan", 6:00 PM at East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier St, St Paul

  • August 21, 2016: AFSCME Family Picnic at Battle Creek Regional Park, Maplewood

  • August 25 - September 5, 2016:  AFSCME booth at the Minnesota State Fair

  • September 19, 2016: Working Partnerships Golf Tournament

  • September 22 - 24, 2016: AFSCME Council Convention in Bloomington

  • September 25 - 27, 2016: Minnesota AFL-CIO Convention in Duluth  



Labor Movie Night - Blood Fruit - May 20

Reminding us that the current employment difficulties faced by Dunnes Stores workers are not without precedent, Blood Fruit takes us back to 1984, the height of the apartheid regime in South Africa, when Mary Manning, a 21-year-old Dunnes Stores checkout girl, refused to sell Outspan grapefruits under direction from her union in support of the anti-apartheid struggle. She and ten other supporters were suspended and a strike ensued. 

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!


application/pdf iconLabor Movie Night Full Calendar





We advocate for excellence in public services, dignity in the workplace, and opportunity and prosperity for all workers.

Established in April 1950, AFSCME Local 34 represents over 2000 Social Service employees of Hennepin County. As a member, you become a supporter in our efforts to maintain and improve working conditions for everyone. AFSCME will keep fighting for an America that works for all people.  

AFSCME women make up close to 60% of the union’s membership.

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