Letter from AFSCME Local 34 President


 The Employer and the 6 AFSCME unions reached a tentative agreement about 10:00 AM on Thursday, 11/29/07 (after 25 hours of negotiations, but who would be counting?). The Master Negotiations Committee met on Thursday, 12/6/07,  at which time the offer was presented for review. The Union Table Team, comprised of members from Locals 34, 552, 1719, 2822, 2964 and 2938, voted to recommend acceptance of the offer to the Master Negotiations Committee. Members of the Master Negotiations Team has recommended acceptance of the contract proposal

I would like to thank our Local 34 Table Team members - Andrea Lazo-Rice, Clifford Robinson, Laurie Simon, Patrick Regan and Wesley Volkenant and our Business Agent, Matt Nelson - for their long hours of hard work since the negotiations process began with our presentation of the Union proposal to the Employer on July 30th. They spent many hours reviewing proposals and counter-proposals, participating in discussions on issues with our sisters and brothers from the other locals, and working towards crafting and fine-tuning our proposals. I would also like to thank Shawnice Watson who joined us for the final push on Wednesday. We needed her expertise to resolve our supplemental proposal on the uniform allowance for our Medical Assistants and Licensed Practical Nurses at NorthPoint. A thank you also goes to Shannon Wesley who began the process with us before she resigned her position as Chief Steward with the local. She gave valuable insights during her tenure on the Table Team and her efforts are much appreciated. IA special thanks goes to Wes Volkenant for his ability to crunch numbers and make those numbers easily understandable for the various health insurance proposals. I feel very privileged to have been able to work alongside this fine group of folks. They represented you well.  

A big thanks also goes to the Table Team members from the other locals: Local 552 - Tim Turrentine, Rhonda Bode, Rick Wituski, Denny Porter and Pat Guernsey; Local 1719 - Dean Enge, Aaron Printup, Steve Franks and Dale Blom; Local 2822 - Molly Malecki, Janna Carlson, Alice Kelly, Lynn Stetler, Theresa Smith with Local 99 members Dirk Schot and Marilyn Bell; Local 2864 - Jan DeSirey, Caron Chapman, Holly Rakocy and Lisa Kjellander; and Local 2938 - Deb Bernard, Ernie Dial, Laura Floistad and Cliff Poehler as well as their Business Agents, Steve Marincel and Jeff Dains.  Jerry Serfling, Metro Area Director, Jennifer Munt, Council 5 Communications guru and Eliot Seide, Council 5 Executive Director joined us for our final push on Wednesday/Thursday - joining us around 3:30 PM on Wednesday and staying with us to the end of the process. 

  Our not praised and thanked enough companion in this journey is our note-taker, Rhea Hickerson-Taylor, from Local 2822, As Wes Volkenant can attest, this can be a very thankless job. You get to sit through all of the sessions, must have the ability to listen closely to all the conversations, are responsible for taking detailed notes on those conversations for both the minutes of the sessions as well as typing up all the Union proposals but you are a silent partner as you do not have a vote. The bottom line is that we could not be effective without our note-taker so we owe a HUGE round of applause to Rhea.  

The Hennepin Action Team, chaired by Brenda Wood, did a stellar job of providing support to us throughout the process. She and the members of the Action Team made sure that we had what we needed to keep us going.   

Thanks to all of you who supported us by attending the rallies, posting the posters at your work sites, shared information with your coworkers, contacted your Commissioners, and sent us words of encouragement. We would not be at this point without all of you.

A contract summary will be mailed to the Local 34 membership on 12/7. Voting on the contract offer has been scheduled for December 12. A contract summary will also be posted on our website for you to view.

  Thanks much!

Jean Diederich, AFSCME Local 34 President