People of Color Union Members!

The Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation is planning an evening for union members of color. This meeting will take place Monday, March 31st, at the Labor Centre: 312 Central Ave. NE, Mpls. 2nd floor, from 6pm – 8pm. Light snacks and beverages will be provided.

We know that union members come from all walks of life and its' our diversity that helps us provide a rich life experience for one another. We also know that union members of color may have unique experiences and challenges.

Why Come:

The purpose of this day will be to create a safe space for union members of color to discuss how issues related to race and ethnicity affect you, and how we as a union can work on these issues together. We want to hear about systematic problems within our areas relating to race, and how we can collectively address them. It is important that union members of color have a space within the union to talk about common issues, to network, and to build a supportive community. Monday, March 31st, will be about creating that space.

Who Should Come:

This night is for people who identify as a person of color.

Thank you for your respect for this matter in advance!

In solidarity, Kerry Felder, Community and Education Organizer, Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO 612-321-5669 (office) 818-720-7347 (cell)

Labor Movie Night 2016 Schedule

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. 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.  

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

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Workday Minnesota is a project of the Labor Education Service at the University of Minnesota. Workday began publishing in the summer of 2000 with support from Minnesota's labor community. It was the first on-line labor news publication in the United States.


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AFSCME Local 34                       Updated 2/12/2016

“We want to be the working people, not the working poor.”


February is Black History Month

Slavery by Another Name

Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these ostensible “debts,” prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries and farm plantations. Thousands of other African Americans were simply seized by southern landowners and compelled into years of involuntary servitude. Government officials leased falsely imprisoned blacks to small-town entrepreneurs, provincial farmers, and dozens of corporations - including U.S. Steel Corporation - looking for cheap and abundant labor. Armies of "free" black men labored without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold, and were forced through beatings and physical torture to do the bidding of white masters for decades after the official abolition of American slavery.


Local 34 News


AFSCME Local 34 2016 Elections 

You will be sent a notice about the 2016 officer elections around the middle of January 2016.  Vicki Moore will serve as the Nominations Chair and Alex Erickson wills serve as the Elections Chair. Nominations will be taken at both the February 3, 2016 and March 2, 2016 General Assembly meetings. The following officer positions will be open for nominations: President, Vice-President, Chief Steward, Treasurer, Sergeant At Arms, Member-at-large (3 positions), Trustee (1 position). If you think you might be interested please contact Vicki Moore.You must be a full member for at least one year to run for an office position. Click here to read the election notice.U

The following members were nominated at the February 3 General Membership meeting:

President (1 position): Jean Diederich   

First Vice President (1 position): Kathy Kelly                                                       

Treasurer (1 position): Angel Alexander, Paul Madison

Sergeant-at-Arms (1 position): Andrea Lazo-Rice

Senior Chief Steward (1 position): Kela Williams

Members-at-Large (3 positions): Kay Powell, Brittany Bullock, Christina Eichorn, Alex Erickson    

Trustee (1 position) (three year term)

Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation Delegate (5 positions): Grace Baltich, Wes Volkenant, Kay Powell – Local 34 President is an automatic delegate.

Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation Alternate (6 positions) Maggie Keating, Miguel Salazar, Kenneth W. Garnier

 St Paul Regional Labor Federation Delegate (5 positions: Kathy Kelly, Laura Ross, Tywanna Gray, Deb Konechne – Local 34 President is an automatic delegate.

 St Paul Regional Labor Federation Alternate (6 positions): Lindsay Schwab

Student Debt Relief Clinic  enacted 

AFSCME Council 5 Education Department Presents Student Debt Relief Clinic *For Union Members* 

  • Consolidate your loans.–

  • Apply for Income Based Repayment Programs.

  • Learn about Public Service Loan Forgiveness.–

  • Find out if you qualify to reduce your monthly payment and work towards getting some of your debt FORGIVEN!

February 24 and 25: 5 to 6:30 PM AFSCME Council 5, S. St Paul Office

Contact Melinda Pearson to register

Space is limited for this Debt Relief Pilot Program!sc

Upcoming Local 34 Organizing and Training Days

Good morning!

I hope this finds you well, and hope you received my former email of thanks for all your contributions to our union and contract campaign. 

We have set many more organizing and training days that our union local members may participate in. You may participate in one, or as many as you wish. Please RSVP for date that works for you.

  • Next:  Wednesday, February 24th 9-4:30 PM Government Center Auditorium

  • Other dates: March 15, April 14th, May 11, May 12; June 9 and 21st. (locations to be determined)

We have much to do before the Supreme Court makes a decision about the future of public sector workers and unions such as ours.

Please consider attending one our Local 34 AFSCME trainings 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 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 in the public sector, we are under attack. The Supreme Court has taken a case (Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association) that could jeopardize our ability to exercise our rights at work, and is a deliberate attack on public sector unions because our unions get us much better wages and benefits than non-union jobs. All 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 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

William Lucy on How We Win: Union!

Former AFSCME Sec.-Treas. William Lucy returned to the union’s headquarters Feb. 8 to celebrate Black History Month, declaring that low-wage jobs are the new slavery and that unions – particularly AFSCME – are powerful instruments that can bring people together and elevate dignity and respect for all working people.

“AFSCME started as just an idea, because we were not granted the same rights that unions in the public sector got under Franklin Roosevelt,” he said.  “We’ve had to fight for everything we’ve gotten, turning our good idea into a great organization. We’ve empowered African Americans, and all public service workers.” 

Lucy was introduced by AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders, who noted not only his nearly five decades of leadership with AFSCME, but also Lucy’s work as the president of Public Service International, which represents millions of public service workers around the globe, and how he co-founded both the Free South Africa Movement and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU).  

“Bill was also in Memphis in 1968, working with the 1,300 sanitation workers, standing shoulder to shoulder with them as they fought for representation with AFSCME,” President Saunders said. “This union is in his heart, and his soul, and his blood.” Read more

Friedrichs Discussion Panel – February 18th

Featuring labor educator Bill Barry, author of the new book on internal organizing in open shop environments “Closing Up the Open Shop”. This event is open to Union members and to all interested in building a vibrant labor movement in Minnesota. There will also be a discussion panel with local leaders about the Supreme Court case Friedrichs vs California Teachers Association that could impact public sector unions in Minnesota. Get more details.


Union News

Retail Janitors Join Union Janitors in Setting Strike Deadline

Retail janitors who work for contractors cleaning the Twin Cities’ giant retail stores announced they will go on strike February 14 unless their employers negotiate improvements in wages and benefits like paid sick time, paid vacation and paid holidays. “We’re here fighting for what’s right,” said Jesus Sanchez, who works for Capital Building Services Group cleaning Macy’s and Herberger’s stores. Read more at Workday Minnesota.

Contribute to the Iron Range Food Drive

Many of you know the terrible times the Iron Range is experiencing right now, but it's probably worse than you think. These tough times are depleting area food shelves. Many Iron Rangers are losing hope.

We can't get their jobs back, but we can help our union brothers and sisters get through this crisis. Find out how you can help through Education Minnesota's Iron Range food shelf drive. Learn more and donate.


There are a number of scholarships available through a variety of organizations (AFSCME, AFL/CIO, Nellie Stone Johnson, and Union Plus). Click here to review the information for all scholarships - some deadlines are still coming up. Click here for AFSCME Council 5 scholarship information for 2016.

2016-17 Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarships Available

Applications for the 2016-2017 academic year are now being accepted. 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 2016. Learn more.

State of Minnesota February Budget and Economic Forecast

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans, State Economist Dr. Laura Kalambokidis, and State Budget Director Margaret Kelly will release the State of Minnesota February Budget and Economic Forecast on Friday, Feb. 26 2016.


Newsletter Editor 

Wes Volkenant has resigned as our newsletter editor after 14 years of service. Kenneth W. Garnier, Chair of the Local 34 Media Committee, is serving as our acting editor until we fill the position. Contact him by email.

AFSCME Council 5 - 300 Hardman Avenue So. South Saint Paul, Minnesota 55075 

(651) 450-4990 Fax: (651) 450-1908 

Local 34 Internet Web Site Developer 

John Herzog (612-348-3013) 

AFSCME Council 5 Delta Dental Questions: 

Deb Cassidy (651-287-050)

Local 34 Good & Welfare

Leah Hicks (MC 630) or Amanda Abell (MC L890)

AFSCME Council 5 Field Representative: 

Michael Lacoste (651-287-0553) 


 Have a great day and thank you for visiting our union's website!