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
level the playing field when they organize!
Herzog - WEB Developer
AFSCME - Promoting
excellence in public services, dignity in the workplace with opportunity
and prosperity for all!
Local 34, P.O. Box 15222, Commerce Station, Mpls., Mn. 55415
March against Water Shut-Offs
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
Wes Volkenant and Vicki Moore from AFSCME Local 34 participated in
the march while attending the Netroots Nation Conference in
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.
families need your help right now. Tell President Obama to declare
a public health emergency in Detroit and get the water flowing
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.
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."
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
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
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.
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:
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.
is the ‘official’ list. However, in the last
three years these additional duties and tips are
important and needed as well:
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.
solidarity, Dana Hanson
you have further questions about the role/duties
of a Chief Steward, please email me at email@example.com.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Retirement Under PERA Continues to 2019
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.
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.
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
AFSCME Local 34
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.
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.
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
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
by phone at 651-287-0537.
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.
great day and thank you for visiting our union's website!