Local 34 General Assembly – June 3, HSB, Room 110, 5:30 pm.

Missed Opportunities


With the largest budget in state history and a $1.9 billion budget surplus, hopes ran high that this would be a session marked by accomplishments to move Minnesota forward. Because Republicans were determined to provide long-term tax giveaways to corporations, eliminate MinnesotaCare for nearly 100,000 Minnesotans and use smoke and mirrors to address the multi-billion dollar, multi-year fix for Minnesota’s deteriorating transportation system, work didn’t get done and it was a session of missed opportunities.  

House DFL Leader Paul Thissen summed up these missed opportunities in a “Top 10” list

"Pride" - June 19, 6:00 pm, Minneapolis Labor Centre, 312 Central Ave. SE, Minneapolis. When British miners went on strike in 1984 against Margaret Thatcher’s union-busting policies, strikers in the Welsh village of Onllwyn gained unusual allies. This 2014 release is based on the true story of gay and lesbian activists who supported the miners and their families. 

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

AFSCME Local 34                  Updated 5/27/2015

No man’s life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness is safe when the legislature is in session.” ~ Mark Twain

The June Local 34 Newsletter is now posted on the website. 

Good Morning AFSCME Members 

We want to remind and invite you to the next EE&O meeting which will be held on June 1 from 5:30-7:00, Room 111, @ Health Services Building, 525 Portland Avenue So., Mpls. 

This is an important meeting as we prepare and plan for our upcoming Labor Contract Negotiations.  This is a process that involves a lot of work and we need as many AFSCME members as possible who can share any amount of time to work for our Union. Whether you can help a lot or a little does not matter, everything helps and we know people are busy. This work is important and the upcoming contract directly affects you!

While we have work to do, getting together, meeting new people and working together is more enjoyable and fun than work. We hope you can join us on June 1st and have a great week. ~  The Education, Engagement and Outreach Committee of all six Hennepin County Locals.

AFSCME Negotiations Update!  We have one more meeting  of the AFSCME Master Committee (comprised of folks from the six Hennepin County AFSCME locals) scheduled on Monday, June 15th @ 5:30 PM – Jury Assembly Room (A-level of the Government Center). We will spend time polishing up our master proposal including wages and health insurance, talking about a contract campaign theme, laying the groundwork for the campaign so that our EE&O folks have direction and support and dealing with some of the nuts & bolts that tend to crop up.

Our Local 34 Table Team, the folks who will represent us in negotiations, will be appointed at our June 3rd General Assembly. Our practice is that the Table Team members have attended the Master Committee meetings. The rationale for this is that those folks have been part of the process from the beginning so know the genesis of the issues we are putting forward in our proposal. The Table Team will meet the week of June 8th to strategize in preparation for its first meeting with the Employer on August 10. ~ AFSCME Local 34 President Jean Diederich

2015 Contract Negotiations Schedule! August 10th - (Union’s first proposal), August 24th - (Management’s first proposal and debate begins), September 3rd , September 14th , October 8th , October 15th, November 2nd, November 16th.  

Changes! President Diederich noted that County Benefits Manager Jeremy Zajicek is leaving the County, and that Labor Relations Director Bill Peters will be retiring as of September 11, 2015, and will not be leading this year’s Negotiations with AFSCME. This means that in the Fall, the AFSCME Business Representatives will be new, the County Board Chair will be new, and the County’s Labor Relations Director will be new - should be an interesting Fall!

Look for the Contract Survey! A 2015 contract negotiations survey is coming to a work site near you soon. A 2015 contract negotiations survey is coming to a work site near you soon. We will be talking to our fellow members about issues that are important to us as we work on our contract proposal. We are asking for home email and phone numbers so we are able to spread any news, get notices of actions, ask for feedback, etc., in a speedy fashion. Please take the time to fill out the survey when we stop by. Volunteers to talk to members are welcome – let Local 34 President Jean Diederich or one of the other officers or stewards know if we have not already invited you to join us in the fun.   

Local 34 Executive Board Vacancy - to be filled at June 17th E-Board Meeting! There is a vacant Member-at-Large seat on the Board, following our recent election. Let Jean Diederich know if you are interested in being considered in June.

Deb Konechne addressed both the terrific work the Local has done on its new “Mapping” project and all of the successful May Day lunch-time info sessions and May Day March. Turnout was over 335 at the 10 locations for the lunch-time sessions!

Led by newly-elected Local 34 Member-at-Large, Kenneth W. Garnier and Local 34 Membership Secretary, Deb Konechne, Local 34 members proudly carried the Local’s banner in the May Day March through the streets of Minneapolis, May 1, 2015.

The Meet & Confer agenda in May included the problem Child Protection Social Workers face finding child placement locations and availability. It’s problematic when the child has to stay with the worker through the day into the evening.

Another issue has arisen at the Central and South Minneapolis hubs. What is their absenteeism practice and do the practices violate the Contract? Some workers are reporting being accused of excessive absenteeism for more than one unplanned absence or tardiness in a single pay period. (to be fair, an average of 10% or more can be regularly absent some days…) “Coaching sessions” are being conducted with 1 or 2 supervisors present. Our Contract has language for patterned habitual or inappropriate absence, and a medical statement may be requested if the unplanned absence is for "3 consecutive days". If you believe you are being treated unfairly or disciplined in violation of our contract, contact a Local 34 steward.

Tony Parrish, Kenneth W. Garnier and Brittany Bullock were nominated to fill two positions representing Local 34 at the AFSCME Next Wave Assembly in St. Louis on June 12-14. Brittany and Kenneth were elected to attend.

New stewards Brittany Bullock and Thomas A. Moore of the North Minneapolis Hub were appointed, and Margo Blay, at Century Plaza, was reinstated as of June 1. As it becomes harder to have Stewards where the requests for representation occur, the Stewards will be going to a representation rotation, which may reduce some members’ convenience, while better supporting all.

Nellie Stone Johnson, Minneapolis Progressive Leader, Educator and Labor Activist! The Minnesota Legislature has approved placing her statue at the State Capital - the first black woman honored thusly by the State of Minnesota. State Rep. Joe Mullery, DFL-Minneapolis got traction in 2013, when he and Senator Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, co-authored a bill allotting $30,000 toward a bust of Johnson. Labor unions and other Johnson admirers raised the required $30,000 match, and more, mostly in $50 and $100 increments. Now the fund has reached $73,000. With the total cost estimated at $100,000, supporters are spreading the word to others willing to help them reach their goal. Local 34 has already made a contribution to this effort. Read more.

Attention Retirees: The Union Movement needs your experience, talent and participation! Local 34 has taken action to affiliate with AFSCME Chapter 5 Retirees United. In addition, you are able to participate by association with the Minneapolis Regional Retiree Council. The Minneapolis Regional Retiree Council meets at 1:00 p.m., the third Thursday of the month (excluding July, August and December) at the Union Bank building located at 312 Central Ave SE, Mpls, 55414 (Room 218). The Minneapolis Retiree Council has members from different unions (teachers, letter carriers, plumbers) - this gives retirees a better understanding of issues that are important to all retirees. Retirees have alot to offer and share to grow the Union Movement and we would like you to join us. You are invited to attend a meeting to hear a guest speaker talk about issues relevant to retirees, or one of our social events coming up soon. To find out more, please contact Graeme Allen at Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation by phone @ 612-481-2144 or by email @ graeme@minneapolisunions.org or Tom Beer @ doucetbeer@earthlink.net.

Home Care Workers Celebrate Passage of Historic First Contract! In a victory for 27,000 home health care workers across Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton gave final approval to a historic first union contract that will dramatically improve working conditions in the industry when it takes effect July 1. Dayton’s signature on the Omnibus Health and Human Services bill, passed by the Legislature with bipartisan support, made the contract official last Friday. It’s the first new union contract with the State of Minnesota in decades, according to SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, the union representing home care workers. Read more at Workday Minnesota.

Echoes of 2011!  Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), whose attempt to strip tens of thousands of public employees of their bargaining rights in 2011 failed, lashed out last week at the state’s 10,000 child care and home care workers when he issued an executive order stripping them of their collective bargaining rights. Read more.

Still Waiting on Back Pay! When Fresh Seasons Markets in Victoria and Glen Lake closed a year ago, owner Tom Wartman failed to pay his employees the vacation and personal-holiday pay they had earned, their union alleges. Local 653 of the United Food and Commercial Workers has taken legal action to recoup workers’ pay, and the union’s Health, Welfare and Pension Fund trustees are suing Fresh Seasons to recover benefit contributions never paid. Read more.

AT&T Workers in Minneapolis Strike Over Sick Pay for Longest-Serving Employees! Workers in AT&T’s credit collections department walked off the job in Minneapolis this afternoon, joining a “grievance strike” to demand AT&T stop denying sick pay to its longest-serving employees. About 200 of the department’s 243 workers, members of Local 7250 of the Communications Workers of America, joined picketing outside AT&T’s offices at 9th Street and Marquette Avenue, according to union reports. Striking workers plan to return to their posts tomorrow, Local 7250 President Shari Wojtowicz said. But the walkout put AT&T on notice that union members are standing behind their co-workers whose requests for sick leave have been denied. Read more.

Bread and Roses Artist - Paul Davis! In 1912, a multi-national mix of more than 20,000 mill workers – the vast majority of them women – went on strike in Lawrence, Mass. The landmark event became known as the Bread and Roses Strike. In 1979, the New York-based National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees paid tribute by launching the Bread and Roses Cultural Project. It was an effort to display the artistic talents of working women and men. Davis’ painting draws on the long “Bread and Roses” tradition in labor: Workers deserve more than being able to survive – the “bread.” They also deserve to enjoy the finer things that life offers – the “roses.” 

5 Win Scholarships from Nellie Stone Johnson Foundation! Two AFSCME members and three students in AFSCME families received college scholarships from the Nellie Stone Johnson Foundation this year. They are among 29 winners of the annual scholarships, which are available to union members of color (or family members) who attend college in the MnSCU system. The AFSCME winners: Lorrhonda Byrd, of Hennepin County Medical Center Local 977, Huynh Mai Nt Koenig, of Hennepin County Human Services Local 34, Reijuana Harley, daughter of Ronald Harley, of Hennepin County Adult Corrections Local 1719, Marinda Rodriquez, daughter of Loralee Prescott, of Ramsey County Human Services Local 151, Sean Thomez, son of Curtis Thomez, of Local 638 at Minnesota State University-Mankato.

Panel to Discuss $15 Wage Campaign! Learn more about the Fight for $15 and other efforts to raise wages at a free public program Wednesday, May 27, at the East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier, St. Paul. The program starts at 7 p.m. and is sponsored by the Library and the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation's Community Connections. Activists for $15Now, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, IAM District 77, Our Walmart and CTUL will discuss the $15 minimum wage movement. Speakers will include airport workers, retail store cleaners, health care providers, fast food and retail workers. "Learn how the gains from a $15 minimum wage extend beyond those who receive it and what we all can do to help," organizers said in announcing the event.

2015 Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Applications! The Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Board is currently accepting applications for the 2015-2016 year. The Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship is available to minority students from union families attending or planning to attend one of the 31 technical colleges, community colleges and/or state universities in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. To be eligible, a scholarship applicant must be a racial minority and a union member or be the child, grandchild, or spouse of a union member. Scholarships are awarded to both full-time and part-time students who will be attending a MnSCU tech or community college or state university in the fall of 2015. Applications must be postmarked by June 1. You can find the application and instructions online.

Apply now for Minnesota Union Leadership Program! The University of Minnesota Labor Education Service is accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Minnesota Union Leadership Program, which begins in September. Deadline to apply is June 1. Through six in-depth sessions scheduled over nine months, participants study the labor movement and discuss how to address the challenges facing unions today. This program provides the opportunity for emerging and established union leaders to build relationships and network with others. It draws on the diversity of the labor movement and uses a participatory approach to learn from other’s experiences. Participants include union activists, workplace stewards, elected officers and staff. Learn more and apply. Local 34 will sponsor up to four members if selected by LES to participate in the 2015-2016 Minnesota Union Leadership Program.

Job Opening - Labor Educator! The Labor Education Service (LES) at the University of Minnesota is seeking a full-time labor educator to join the teaching staff. The Labor Education Service was founded in 1951 and is part of the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The Twin Cities rank in the nation’s top five livable metropolitan areas, recognized internationally as a center of arts and culture. Minnesota’s progressive heritage is embodied in its vibrant labor, environmental and community activism. Application deadline is June 3. Learn more and apply.

Labor Movie Night - "Pride" - June 19, 6:00 pm, Minneapolis Labor Centre, 312 Central Ave. SE, Minneapolis. When British miners went on strike in 1984 against Margaret Thatcher’s union-busting policies, strikers in the Welsh village of Onllwyn gained unusual allies. This 2014 release is based on the true story of gay and lesbian activists who supported the miners and their families. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. Snacks and beverages are available. Labor Movie Night is co-sponsored by AFSCME Locals 34, 1164, 2822, and 3800; Council 5 Next Wave; Minneapolis Labor Review; Teamsters Local 638; and UNITE-HERE Local 17.

GLBT Pride Parade! Join Minnesota AFL-CIO's working families as we walk in the June 28 Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade this year! Bring your fellow union members, wear your union's banners and colors and let's march! RSVP on Facebook or contact Chris Shields at 651-294-3094 or cshields@mnaflcio.org for more information.

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