Local 34 General Membership Meeting

Wednesday October 1, 5:30

Note room change: HSB Lower Level, L14/15

"ME to WE"

 Fighting for Our Future

Nearly 750 delegates, alternates and guests gathered in Bloomington for the 10th Annual AFSCME Council 5 convention September 11-13.  “ME to WE: Fighting for Our Future” was the theme of this year’s event.  Due to popular demand, we’ve compiled a collection of the exciting things that participants saw, heard and had to say.  

Convention Photo Gallery

Video: Anniversary Slideshow

Video: Fighting for Our Future Testimonials

Video: Warning from Wisconsin

Video: Governor Dayton

Video: Getting Better

Video: Judy Wahlberg’s address

Video: Lee Saunder’s remarks

Video: Thank You, Cliff Poehler!

Video: Day on the Hill 2014

Video: We Remember 9-11

Video: Greetings from Senator Franken

AFSCME Local 34  

"Established in April 1950, we represent over 1900 Social Service employees of Hennepin County."

  President's Blog President's Blog October

Newsletter  October

  Member News  

Newsletter Editor


36 Reasons We All Benefit From Unions





Next Wave



AFSCME Council 5

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

Action Update

AFSCME Congressional Reports

Labor Resources on Facebook

Links for Working Families


All work has dignity and deserves respect. 
We stand with fast food workers across America fighting for fair pay and fair schedules. Do you?

AFSCME History





Who Is Local 34

Local 34 Mission

Local 34 Lapel Pin

Local 34 Archives

Local 34 Election Results

Photo Gallery  

Workers level the playing field when they organize!


Screening Room

Union Songs

Stories of Labor Union History

Today in History

African American Labor History

Labor Day History


Local 34 Reimbursement form


Mileage Policy

2014 Seniority Report

  Family and Medical Leave Act Employee Guide (pdf)

  FMLA Basics

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

Negotiations 2011

  Negotiations 2009

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 9/29/2014

"Our union is a testament to collective action and the triumph of WE over ME."


  • You can vote absentee  beginning Friday, September 19.

  • See a list of candidates endorsed by local AFSCME PEOPLE committees.

  • If you want to volunteer with other AFSCME members and retirees to support candidates who support us, call Council 5’s Jon Grebner: 651-287-0587.

  • November 4 is Election Day!

  • Click here to register to vote in Minnesota. If you are already registered to vote, please forward this link to a friend, family members, or a neighbor. Voting is a core principle of our democracy.

“You know, I’m always amazed at the folks who detest government, who believe it’s incompetent, and then take a job in government….People who believe the private sector has all the answers should find jobs there, and leave the complex, sophisticated job of managing complex, sophisticated public services to those of us who believe in them – and those of us who believe in the people, like you in AFSCME, who provide them them very well. So that’s what this election comes down to: A choice between someone who believes in government, who cares about what it does or someone who doesn’t.” ~ Governor Mark Dayton


  • Education, Engagement, and Outreach! Our next AFSCME EEO meeting will be held on October 6, 5:30 - 7:30 pm at the Health Services Building, Room 110.  he agenda items include: Labor Lunch, Strikes, Workplace Issues and Organizing.  

  • These Roses Have Thorns: Flower Workers & U.S. Free Trade with Colombia! Join us October 7, 7:00 pm in welcoming Josefa Gomez and Leo Luna Alzate from Cactus, which advocates for flower worker rights in Colombia. Flowers are one of Colombia's biggest exports (with 76% imported to the US) - and a priority sector in the Labor Actions Plan created as part of the US Free Trade Agreement. The workers, 65% who are female, have few protections. Listen to Josefa and Leo who have over 10 years of experience in the flower industry and building solidarity among flower workers. This event is sponsored by Witness For Peace-Upper Midwest, the MN Fair Trade Coalition, and Veterans for Peace. For more information, contact Elise Roberts at wfpumw@witnessforpeace.org or 920-421-2269. Where: CWA Local 7200 Hall, 3521 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis 

  • Breaking Ice is Coming to Hennepin County! Body Pillsbury House Theatre’s Breaking Ice, winner of the 2008 Nonprofit Mission Award for Anti-Racism Initiative, is a theatre event that addresses the “tough stuff” of cultural differences in today’s multicultural organizational environment. It’s a powerful, dramatic, and entertaining way to get a fresh perspective on the dynamics and dialogues we experience in the workplace, a way to gain more intimate understanding of each other within a safe space. Two performances, each followed by an enlightening facilitated conversation, will be held Wednesday, October 8 at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. at Central Library’s Pohlad Hall. Enrollment is open to all Hennepin County staff with sign up through APEX.

  • The Big Gay Race will kick off at 9:00am on Saturday, October 18 at St. Anthony Main. Minnesotans have an important story to tell about how we won marriage and why we support all families. We hope we can count on your continued generosity to show our legislative champions that we've got their backs, and ultimately set the stage for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage nationwide. Early Bird registration pricing ends next week. Don't wait, sign up today!

  • Labor Lunch! Strikes! Hennepin County workers and Labor Activists talk about their experience of going on STRIKE. Pizza will be provided. Hennepin County Government Center Auditorium, 300 6th St. Mpls., November 12, 2:00 Noon - 1:00.

  • Library Hosts Labor History Class! St. Paul Public Schools and the East Side Freedom Library are teaming up for a six-part community education class on the history of labor in Minnesota. The class is held on Thursdays, October 16 - November 20, from 6-8 p.m., at the library, 1105 Greenbrier St. Cost is $50. To register, call 651-767-8179.  

Health Insurance Enrollment

  • Health Insurance Options/Enrollment/Premiums!  Keep your eyes open for information about the open enrollment for our health insurance plan. That will be coming your way this month in preparation for the open enrollment in November. We do not have all the details yet but it appears that we will have a third option for the Advantage Plan - HCMC and their clinics plus NorthPoint. Please remember to complete your wellness activities to qualify for the reduced co-pay. You will need to have the activities completed before the end of the business day on October 31st. Open enrollment will be from November 10—November 25, 2014. The Be Well Clinic is expanding and moving in 2015 to the 1st floor of the 701 Building, across from the Government Center. Services will be expanded to include: Pharmacy, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, and a Physician on site. The County’s 2015 health insurance premium proposal will be presented at the September Labor-Management Health Care Committee meeting.

Local 34 News

  • Future Issues of the Local 34 Banner! The Executive Board has decided that beginning with the October 2014 issue, our newsletter will no longer be distributed in paper version to each individual member. The PDF version will be made available to each of you through e-mail links via unit representatives. Until that system is in place you can contact our Newsletter Editor, Wesley Volkenant, and he will email you a notice once the newsletter has been posted on the Local 34 website. You can also view all copies of our Local 34 newsletters dating back to 2002 on this website. A shorter version of our newsletter will also be posted on all union bulletin boards in your work areas. 

  • Disciplined for Being Sick? Know Your Rights! You may qualify for rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If you – or a family member - suffer from a chronic illness that causes periodic absences, those days away from work cannot be subject to discipline. First, request FMLA papers from your supervisor and complete them including required information from your doctor. Second, see a Union Steward and s/he can advise you of your rights.

  • Facebook Group! Local 34 will be ramping up our Facebook Group with the help of Council 5. A Face-book Group is not the same as a Facebook Page. We envision a group that is open by invitation to our members where we can not only post information and our online newsletter but also offer a forum for open worker discussions. As we all move to Regions and Open Works Spaces, finding new ways to communicate and stay connected to one another becomes very important. Stay tuned for more information on our Local 34’s Facebook group.

  • Budget & Finance Committee! The Budget & Finance Committee reported that meetings have commenced for the year, and the committee is diligently working to flesh out what a membership dues increase would look like, based on 2015 wages. A presentation of sample dues increases with discussion will be presented at the October General Membership meeting. The 2015 Local 34 budget recommendation is pending.  

  • Negotiations! Planning for contract negotiations will begin in 3/2015. The first negotiation session with the county is tentatively scheduled for 8/15/2015. 

  • Lateral Movement for HSRs! HSRs have an opportunity to change where they work if they want to. HSRs may complete a survey and request the work place of their choice (not required). An interview may be required for specialty positions.

  • AFSCME Family Scholarship! Graduating high school students who are children and financially dependent grandchildren of full dues-paying AFSCME members may now apply for the AFSCME Family Scholarship. Download an application here. Application deadline is December 31.  

“As a general proposition, when employees feel treated respectfully and believe that key information is not being withheld from them, they are more likely to get beyond the us vs. them paradigm that typically besets poorly led organizations.” ~ David Yamada, Professor of Law and Director of the New Workplace Institute at Suffolk University Law School in Boston



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Call 1-866-802-7312 to talk with a Union Plus Mortgage specialist to help you find the home financing that works for you or request Union Plus Mortgage consultation today. ~ Union Plus


A look back at the 2014 AFL-CIO Convention! More than 500 delegates representing unions from across Minnesota gathered in St. Paul Sept. 21-23 for the biennial convention of the Minnesota AFL-CIO. The agenda focused on political action around this fall’s elections and efforts by workers to organize and achieve union representation. Workday Minnesota was there and has comprehensive coverage in a special section. 


Delivering Dollars! In 2014, Minnesota homeowners will experience the largest property tax reduction in twelve years and will begin to benefit from the most significant reform of homestead taxation in at least three decades. The final property tax after refunds paid by the typical homeowner with a median income residing in a median value home will decline by over ten percent from 2013 to 2014 in the majority of Minnesota communities. Read the report!


Race for Governor! Hennepin County commissioner Jeff Johnson says he supports “right-to-work” legislation that bars unions from requiring employees to pay dues, even if they are covered by a union contract — a restriction that typically diminishes the power of unions in such states. The GOP challenger said recently that if he were governor, he would push to repeal the legislation that allowed child care and home health care workers to decide whether to unionize. Governor Dayton on the other hand said he supports the right to organize and collectively bargain because he considers it an effective way to build a stronger middle class. He also defends his approval of a measure that allowed for home health care workers to vote on joining a union, saying that workers should have that option.


Even Most Employers Think We Need a Higher Minimum Wage! Momentum may be growing for a national minimum wage hike, with the city council of Los Angeles recently voting for a $15.37 minimum wage for workers at hotels with at least 125 guest rooms. Increasingly municipalities and states are taking matters of fair pay into their own hands. Conservatives often argue that employers oppose increasing the minimum wage because it will suppress hiring, kill jobs, and generally ruin the economy. A new Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder finds that employers actually approve of a national minimum wage of $10 an hour. The new poll finds that 62 percent of employers think their state's minimum wage should be increased, and that includes 58 percent of “company senior leaders.” 


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