One Strong, United Voice for Minnesota Workers

Friday, January 20

•*In the early-morning hours of Inauguration Day, janitors who clean Home Depot stores in the Twin Cities will go on strike, protesting not only the poverty wages paid by their cleaning-contractor employer, but Trump’s anti-worker agenda as well. Striking workers are members of the Twin Cities worker center CTUL. Join them on the picket line beginning at 5:30 a.m. at the Quarry store, 1520 New Brighton Blvd., Minneapolis.


* Friday afternoon, organizers plan to march in opposition to Trump’s “racist agenda,” from the intersection of Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue to Minneapolis City Hall. The Resist from Day 1 march will begin at 2:00 p.m., with plans to reach City Hall by 5:00 p.m. Several unions and labor organizations have endorsed the action, including AFSCME Council 5, SEIU Local 26 and the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation.


Saturday, January 21

* In solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington happening the same day, activists will stage the "Women’s March Minnesota" in St. Paul, culminating with a rally on the Capitol grounds. The Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) and IATSE Local 13 are co-sponsors of the march, set to launch at 11:00 a.m. from St. Paul College.


Wednesday, February 1


* Local 34 General Membership meeting, HSB Room 110, 5:30 p.m.

Established in April 1950, AFSCME Local 34 represents over 2000 Social Service employees of Hennepin County


AFSCME members have a lot at stake in 2017 and the next few years. This may be the rockiest political terrain working people have encountered in our union’s 85-year history…Our collective voice will be stronger when more people join the chorus in favor of working people’s rights, protections and futures. Let us resolve to help working people everywhere. ~ AFSCME

Other Labor Articles


 Local 34 Officers

Local 34 Stewards

Local 34 Member News


Local 34 Contract  

AFSCME Advantage


Labor Lunch at entury Plaza

AFSCME Happy Hour 

First Friday of every month. 5 p.m. Mac’s Industrial Bar. 

Are You Up to Date?

Can your union reach you when you’re not at work? To make sure we can, we need your personal – not work – email and phone. Simply fill out the form on Council 5's website.

AFSCME Strong on the Rise

86% of Local 34 are now full members of our union. AFSCME Strong is our program to determine our own destiny by building a stronger union with members who are more engaged. Sign a membership card to protect your job, defend our rights and preserve the quality of services we provide our communities. Our goal is to reach 94% membership. Contact any of the officers or stewards to sign a card or plan to attend one of the AFSCME Strong trainings.

AFSCME launches new labor history website

Jennifer Munt, Council 5 Public Affairs Director, wrote and directed the performances.  "Worker rights, civil rights and human rights are all connected," said Munt.  "Now, more than ever, we must remember who we are and what we fight to protect as a labor movement.  We hope AFSCME Roots will help working people do that."

The historic figures brought to life in six vignettes are: Sojourner Truth, a former slave who struggled to free other African Americans, performed by Sametta Hill;  Mother Jones, the iconic miner and child worker organizer, voiced by Sara Franck; Pauline Newman, garment worker and lesbian rights pioneer, interpreted by Mary Falk; Eugene Debs, railroad organizer and Socialist presidential candidate, portrayed by Dennis Frazier; Bayard Rustin, gay civil rights leader and strategist, played by Vaughn Thompson; and Jerry Wurf, consummate AFSCME leader and mentor to Eliot Seide, who portrays him.  All of these historic leaders faced and overcame serious adversities to advance the rights of working people. 

Assiniboine/Nakota singer Georgia Wettlin Larsen opens the series with a Cheyenne honor song.  She recognizes the labor of her ancestors and all women workers, as well as the critical importance of the land and water that support all people.

The music coupled with the portrayal of each leader was performed by renowned local talents Larry Long, Sharice McCain, Billy Steele and Georgia Wettlin Larsen.The songs repeatedly brought the crowd to its feet.

The new site also includes the reflections of the performers on how the examples of leaders they portrayed have inspired their own work on behalf of fellow union members and all workers. Also featured are downloadable resources to make sharing labor history easy. The videos were shot and edited by Randy Croce and Howard Kling of the University of Minnesota Labor Education Service. The new site provides a new, dynamic way to tap into and spread appreciation of labor’s rich legacy.  ~ Randy Croce, Labor Education Service




  AFSCME Local 34                       Updated 1/17/2017



“The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute, and above all new wage levels that meant not mere survival, but a tolerable life. The captains of industry did not lead this transformation - they resisted it until they were overcome.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.



AFSCME and Martin Luther King Jr.

On April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to Memphis to support AFSCME sanitation workers. That evening, he delivered his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech to a packed room of supporters. The next day, he was assassinated.

Memphis Strikers Stand Firm (March 1968)

Union Recognition Still Remains as Principal Issue - Public Employee, March 1968


Standing firm in their fight for union recognition, dues deduction, a meaningful grievance procedure and wage improvements, the 1,300 members of SCME Local 1733 entered their seventh week of the public works strike here as The Public Employee went to press.

While the city has stubbornly refused to recognize the union, grant dues deductions, set up grievance machinery, and meet other demands of the workers, the strike has accomplished a remarkable coalescing of the Negro community. The pent-up frustrations of the community have been brought dramatically to the surface, with the strike serving as a catalyst to unify the city's 200,000 Negroes, who represent 36 percent of the population of this mid-South city.

International President Jerry Wurf has been here much of the time, leading the fight for union recognition.

Wurf, J.P. Ciampa, International field staff director; Local 1733 President T.O. Jones, William Lucy, associate director of legislative and community affairs; Joseph Paisley and Jesse Epps, International representatives, and Newman Jones, a local 1733 steward, were judged in contempt of court on the grounds they violated an injunction ordering the workers to return to their jobs.

The city's case against Wurf was largely based on the fact that the International President had addressed the Memphis City Council asking the Council to take action to settle the strike. The city maintained that Wurf's talking to the councilmen constituted incitement.

The seven men were sentenced to 10 days in jail and $50 fines. The case is being appealed to a higher court and the union leaders are free on bond.

Activity has run the gamut from mass meetings, sit-ins at City Hall, marches through downtown, church rallies, all-night vigils, economic boycotts and futile attempts to reason with Mayor Henry Loeb, who prides himself as being "hard-headed."

One of the highlights of the numerous rallies was the appearance of Roy Wilkins, executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Bayard Rustin of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. The rally was attended by more than 15,000 persons.

This was followed by another mammoth rally addressed by Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. King was so impressed by the unity of the strikers and the community that he planned to return to Memphis March 22 to lead a march on City Hall.

Early on March 22, the worst snowstorm in the history of Memphis hit and closed down the city. Dr. King was unable to reach the city and the march was rescheduled for March 29.

Memphis was paralyzed by 17 inches of snow which clogged streets, since the sanitation workers who are on strike would normally help clear the streets.  

One striker observed: "Maybe the mayor should try to get an injunction against God. He's on our side!"

Earlier a peaceful march of ministers, strikers, and sympathizers through the downtown area was turned into violence when Memphis police suddenly sprayed the marchers with Mace chemical gas. Several marchers were beaten, including a 74-year-old sanitation worker who had to be hospitalized.

Ciampa, Jones, Lucy, Paisley and Epps were among those gassed. Ciampa was sprayed once and collapsed in the street. Other police then joined in spraying the nearly-unconscious filed staff director as he lay helpless in the gutter.

Daily marches through the downtown area have enforced a boycott of merchants. The boycott has cut sales in the downtown area from 40 to 45 percent.

Strong backing is being given the strikers by other Memphis unions.





  • February General Membership meeting business (2/1/2017)


  • First call for nominations of 2017 Local 34 Officer elections.

  • Election for up to 6 members to attend the LES Women & Femmes retreat to be held April 19 -21, 2017.

  • Election for up to 50 members to attend the 3/28/17 AFSCME Council 5 Day on the Hill to be held in St. Paul.

  • Election of up the eight members to attend the Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship dinner to be held on 3/23/17.

  • Chief Steward Vacancy: Our two Chief Stewards, Tywanna Gray and Kela Williams, have both accepted positions as supervisors. Mara Ssengendo has been serving as Acting Chief Steward while Tywanna was in an acting supervisor position. The members voted to appoint Mara to step in to that position pending Tywanna’s return to her Senior HSR position. The term for this Chief Steward position ends April 30, 2017. The members attending the December 7, 2016 General Assembly voted to have Mara continue in that position through the end of that term. Note that this is one of the officer positions that will be up for election this year with nominations at the February and March General Assemblies.

    The Chief Steward position vacated by Kela Williams has a term ending April 30, 2018.  The members voted to have that position filled via a special election at the Wednesday, January 18, 2017 Executive Board meeting held in HSB 917 at 5:30  PM.  Per the terms of our Local 34 Constitution, the election is held by the Executive Board.  Any member in good standing for one (1) year prior to January 1, 2017 is eligible to run for that office. 

    If you are interested in putting your name forward for the Chief Steward office please contact me as soon as possible.  You are asked to attend the meeting to answer any questions that the officers of the Executive Board might have for you.  The duties of the office are listed in the attached document from our Local 34 Standing Rules. Jean Diederich, AFSCME Local President

  • Steward Access for January, 2017: Mara Ssengendo, Chief Steward, is on vacation this month – January 2017. In her absence, Grace Baltich, Jim Edin and Brian Olson have been appointed to share the Chief Steward duties. If you are in need of a steward, please send an email to the three of them:  

    Grace A Baltich:

    Brian D Olson:

    James W Edin:

    You should make sure to include the reason for your request along with your full name and both work & personal phone numbers.  One of the three will get back to you for more information and to assign a steward to assist you. Thank you.

  • Child Protection Lobby Day (January 24, 10:00am - 4:00 pm): Please mark your calendar for Child Protection Lobby Day: January 24 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Minnesota counties have received $52 Million for Child Protection but caseloads are larger and kids less safe. Our goal is to protect children by maintaining caseloads set by the Child Protection Guidelines. We'll be asking the legislature to require counties to utilize existing and new state appropriations to fulfill the intent of increased staffing levels created by the Child Protection Guidelines. We’ll train child protection workers to lobby in the morning, and head to the capitol to meet with legislators after lunch. ~ Sponsor: AFSCME Council 5

  • Legislative Session Opens: Our state Legislature started a new session with Republicans in control of both the state House and Senate. It’s likely we’ll see legislation that attacks our collective bargaining rights and public services on both the state and national levels. We will fight to protect our clients, our families, our communities and our rights. These are some of our top legislative goals for 2017:  

  • Protect pensions

  • Prevent privatization of public services and ban private prisons

  • Support an increase in state aid to cities and counties

  • Fix transportation with long-term funding for roads, bridges and transit; the deal must include increased appropriations for our design, inspection and maintenance work

  • Support safe staffing for workers in health and human services, corrections and child protection

  • Protect the Public Employment Labor Relations Act

  • Bond for safety improvements at St. Peter Security Hospital and Anoka Metro-Regional Treatment Center; a new intake unit at St. Cloud Correctional Facility and additional medical beds at Lino Lakes

  • Support paid family and medical leave, and sick and safe time leave, for all workers

  • Prohibit local government preemption, such as the Legislature trying to interfere when local governments want to offer better benefits or a higher minimum wage.

    AFSCME Council 5 Day on the Hill 2017 - Tuesday 03/28/2017 (All day): Save the date for our annual Day on the Hill! We’ll rally, then bring our questions and concerns directly to lawmakers.

  • Newsletter Survey: Editor Ali Marzolf will be conducting a survey regarding the format and content of our Local 34 Newsletter – we welcome your feedback!  

  • Register for Labor Class: The Labor Education Service is offering “Intro to the Labor Movement” online from Jan. 30 to March 31. The registration deadline is January 20. Learn more here.

  • Council 5 Offers Social Media Training: Did you know that the Council 5 Communications Department offers customized one-on-one and small group trainings to help your local make the most out of social media? The trainings are free and flexible. It’s a great way to build solidarity within your local. Email Trisha Harms to get started.

  • Twin Cities Labor/Immigrant Rights March: Local 34 membership voted at the December General Membership meeting to support the Twin Cities Labor/Immigrant Rights March against Trump's racist agenda on Inauguration Day (January 20, 2017). Times: 2:00 pm start to gather at Lake Street & Nicollet Avenue South for the rally/march! 4:00 pm march leaves from Franklin & Nicollet to City Hall! 5:00 pm Convergence Rally at City Hall!  

  • Onboarding: As reported earlier, Union and management are working towards an improved process with onboarding that has received feedback from both sides of the table. Some of the feedback received from HSR’s included time to practice the work in between learning new processes and more time to practice the work before certification. There are many more concerns regarding the process but this is only just a few. We (meaning the Union and Management) are in agreement that improvements are needed in all areas of Onboarding to support new staffs growth and success in the process. Read more in the December newsletter.

  • Member Action Teams: Local 34 will continue our efforts to develop Member Action Teams (MAT) during 2017. The structure is aimed at fostering communication, networking and organizing for our members. Our goal is to have 80 MAT leaders by the end of 2017. Contact Deb Konechne, Local 34 Membership Secretary for more information and to express your interest in becoming a MAT leader. Contact Deb at or or call her at 612-816-4321.  

  • Labor Lunches: Local 34 will continue organizing/training days with Labor Lunches for members at various worksites throughout Hennepin County. Contact Deb Konechne for dates/times/locations. The first date is tentatively set for 2/23/2017 at the Health Service Building (HSB), 525 Portland Avenue South, Mpls. Later dates will include a variety of other work locations. All members are welcome!  

  • New Employee Orientations: Local 34 will also continue with union introductions in conjunction with other AFSCME locals at New Employee Orientations. Welcome cards with information about meetings and ways to get more involved will be sent to all new members beginning in January. If you or anyone you know if interested in Organizing, NEO or the Welcoming Committee, contact Deb Konechne.  



AFSCME Council 5advocates for excellence in public services, dignity in the workplace, and opportunity and prosperity for all workers.

AFSCME Local 34 Facebook is a closed group - Email Amanda Abell for an invite. 

AFSCME women make up close to 60% of the union’s membership.

Workday Minnesota is a project of the Labor Education Service at the University of Minnesota. 

We All Benefit From Unions 

Links for Working Families

Labor Resources on Facebook

Action Update

Local 34 Archives

Local 34 Election Results

Photo Gallery  



AFSCME Congressional Reports

Labor History in 2:00

Union Songs


John Herzog - WEB Developer

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

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