public workers, we’ve deferred our wages for a guaranteed
pension that allows us to retire with dignity.
But our retirement security is continually under attack
by politicians. That’s
alarming because our pensions are legislated, not negotiated.
latest pension attack comes from Rep. Sarah Anderson
(R-Plymouth) and Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell).
The Omnibus Pension Bill slashes funding to PERA
(Public Employees Retirement Association), which provides
pension benefits to public workers who retire from local
bill threatens our pensions in two ways.
First, it would withdraw $8 million authorized by the
Legislature in 2010 to fund MERF’s (Minneapolis Employees
Retirement Fund) merger into PERA.
would also cut $21 million of local government employer
contributions to PERA.
hypocrisy has no bounds. They
claim that our pensions are not sufficiently funded, yet they
propose massive cuts to undermine the stability of our pension
fund. Rest assured that
PERA is well managed and in much better shape than critics
PERA is 82 percent funded.
AFSCME members have taken responsible actions to ensure
that there are funds sufficient to pay promised benefits to
retirees. There’s no
reason for public workers, taxpayers or legislators to panic.
PENSIONS to 237263 to be connected to your state
1-844-913-7386 and follow the prompts.
YOUR LEGISLATORS TO:
retirement security for public workers.
Don’t cut funding for the MERF merger and don’t cut
employer contributions to PERA.
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.
The AFL-CIO union
movement champions workplace issues that affect women and
all working Americans, such as equal pay, child and elder
care benefits, job security, safe workplaces, affordable
health care, contraceptive equity, protection from sexual
harassment and violence at work.
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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
workers teach our kids, heal the sick, protect our
communities, plow our roads, clean our water, and much
more. We take care of Minnesotans with one of the
leanest government workforces in the United States.
Minnesota’s government (federal, state and local)
workforce is the 4th leanest in the entire nation,
according to the most recent employment data from
Gallup. Taxpayers deserve the best possible government
for their hard-earned dollars. AFSCME members are proud
to deliver the services that make Minnesota a better
place to live, learn, work and play". ~ AFSCME Council 5
Wage Theft? Or is Life Theft the Bigger Issue?
if not most of us have done it, we’ve worked
through our lunch, worked through our breaks,
started working before our shift, continued
working after hours.
In some areas we may be compensated for the
extra hours, but in many of our work areas we are
working off the clock and working for free.
our jobs we are often put in an impossible
situation: We are told that we can’t work
overtime, yet we are given workloads that simply
are not doable in a 40 hour week.
If we don’t work overtime, we don’t get
our work done.
This puts us at risk of being disciplined
for not meeting department “standards”.
Yet we are afraid to request overtime pay
because we are worried we will be questioned or
disciplined for not completing our work within the
regular work hours.
we often silently work extra hours that we are not
being paid for. It is wrong and in most cases, it
is illegal to not pay us for the time we work.
This is what is called “wage theft”.
Just as one example, if we work through our
15 minute paid breaks every day, in a year’s
time we will have worked 130 hours for free.
addition, many Hennepin County workers are not
using earned vacation hours because of the
workload and feeling they can’t take time off.
Workers have hit the vacation accumulation
limit, meaning they are also no longer earning
vacation hours for their hours of work.
theft can take many forms.
The estimated price of wage theft, in all
its forms, is that it costs American workers more
than $30 billion a year. To put this in
perspective, in 2012, all of the burglaries,
robberies, larcenies and motor vehicle thefts in
the nation cost their victims less than $14
there is even possibly a larger issue here, what
one worker refers to as “life theft”.
areas where we are being paid overtime or comp
time for working additional hours, workers are
still being cheated.
Time spent working after hours is cheating
us out of our free, non-work time.
It is cheating us out of our family time,
social time, relaxation, and time to do the other
things that are important to us.
As many workers have expressed, it causes
extreme duress and stress in both our work and
issue is not our problem as workers, and we should
not be forced to pay for it.
The issue is that there are simply not
enough work hours to complete the work we are
given. The issue is there are not enough
front-line positions to meet the needs that
Hennepin County is committed to meeting. Everyone
suffers when we don’t have adequate time to do
our work- we suffer, and the communities we serve
suffer as well.
Imagine the incredible work we could do for
those we serve, if we only had the appropriate
number of staff to do it.
One has to wonder why Hennepin County keeps
adding management layer upon management layer,
when there are clearly not enough front line
workers to do the most important work of Hennepin
1st or May Day is celebrated around the
world as “International Worker’s Day”.
Although it is barely recognized in the
United States- it was in Chicago that
“International Worker’s Day” was born, after
the fight that won U.S. workers the right to an 8
hour day. This
struggle continues to be relevant today, as we see
our right to an 8 hour day being stripped away.
Hennepin County many of us have flexible work
hours meaning we might work more than 8 hours in a
day to work less another day, but the idea is the
should only be given the amount of work that is
doable in a 40 hour week or 80 hour pay period.
the workers, are the ones who make this county
do very difficult jobs, often in very difficult
we want to do the best for the individuals and
communities we serve.
But our good work and good will should not
be taken advantage of by our employer.
We have the right to be paid for absolutely
every minute that we work.
We have the right to be able to leave our
work behind, at the end of our work hours.
And we have the right to be able to use our
So let’s call for an end to cheating us
out of wages and cheating us out of our lives.
We deserve better! ~ AFSCME Local 34
8 hour workday was won over 100 years ago
but we are steadily losing that right
through workloads that often force us to
work overtime and for free.
Education, Engagement, and Outreach
Committee is collecting data through use
of a "mock timesheet" on how
much workers are working overtime for no
pay. The "timesheets are
anonymous" and will be used to
evaluate workloads and proper compensation
for workers exceeding a 40 hour work week.
Be a part of this important project and
forward your data to AFSCME
here to download one of the timesheets
Break - It’s your Right!
the History of the Labor Movement and the Struggle for the
8-Hour Work Day!
1st is International Workers Day
and celebrate the benefits we enjoy because of unions
fighting for worker’s rights in the past.
Organized by the Action & Education Committee of
AFSCME Local 34 and Local 2822. Refreshments will be
May 1, 2015
at Century Plaza (Lunchroom), NW Hub (Lunchroom),
North Hub (Break Room), Government Center (Room
A1412), Brookdale (Meeting Room), Ridgedale (Room
at South Suburban Hub (Room 174) and 1800 Chicago
at HSB (Room 110) and FJC (3rd Floor)
Workers Day March
1, gather at 2:30 pm - Lake & Nicollet,
Minneapolis. March to downtown Minneapolis. Rally:
5:00 pm at the end of the march at Hennepin County
Government Center North Plaza ("People's
to AFSCME Local 34 workers at Hennepin County, for
endorsing the May 1st March! Gracias a AFSCME
Local 34, trabajadores del condado de Hennepin por
endorsar la marcha del 1ro de mayo!
Council 5’s Month of
month will culminate in a Day of Action, Celebration and
Service on Saturday, April 25th. We will meet at the
Martin Luther King Center, 270 N. Kent St, St Paul MN by
10:00 am for a spring clean-up of the Rondo
on our Facebook page
action honors the sacrifices made by the 1968 Memphis
sanitation workers. This keeps alive our union’s legacy
with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. of gaining respect and
rights for all workers. The clean-up is followed by a meal
at 12:30 PM and ends with a celebration at 1:00 PM. The
keynote speaker will be AFSCME’s Bill Lucy, who helped
the Memphis sanitation workers in their fight to
organize. The day will end wrap up with the movie, “At
the River I Stand” which documents the Dr. King’s last
days in Memphis as he acted to settle the sanitation
a sampling of what we’re doing to “keep the dream alive”
34 has scheduled a volunteer event as our part in the
month of service.
contact Kay Powell or Jean Diederich, via email, to sign
up to participate.
We will have t-shirts to
wear that have “I Am A Man” to honor the Memphis
sanitation workers as we work on our projects to benefit
others. Your children can help – see age limits by the
This event is at Second Harvest, 6325 Sandburg Rd,
Suite 1700, Golden Valley MN, on Tuesday, May 12, 2015
from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. We
will pack food at the ware-house. You must be over 8
to participate. We need 15 volunteers for this event. Check
the Local 34 April Newsletter for additional
Busting in Wisconsin
Plaza Sky Garden
2nd Avenue South, Minneapolis.
We want invite
you to a Special Happy Hour in the beautiful Crown Plaza Sky
Garden. This is sure to be a fun and enjoyable evening
socializing with friends and colleagues.
be provided and there will be a cash bar. While the event
starts at 5:00 our guest speaker Angela Marlow will present at
6:00 pm. Angela was a Public Employee in Wisconsin and will
share her stories of what happened to her and all Public
Employees when Scott Walker became Governor.
While we wish
it were not the case, Labor Unions are under attack by
big corporations who are trying to bust up Unions so that they
can reduce wages and benefits only to increase their profits.
Many people in
Wisconsin thought that could never happen, but it did.
Wages were slashed and benefits were taken away. What
happened in Wisconsin is real and we want to be as informed as
possible so this never happens to us.
We hope you can
attend this enjoyable and informative evening. In case
the weather does not cooperate (this is Minnesota) the event
will be held inside. ~ The Education, Engagement, and Outreach
Committee of all Six Locals in Hennepin County.
Abood all about?
Court unanimously agreed in 1977 that public workers had the
right to join together and form a union that would exclusively
represent them in collective bargaining negotiations. The
court also ruled that union members could vote to collect a
“fair share” fee from workers who receive union benefits.
words, the Supreme Court said that when employees of a local
government democratically vote to form a union, they could
also decide that all workers should share the cost of union
representation since all workers benefit from the higher union
wages and benefits. That case was called Abood v. Detroit
Board of Education.
Now, a new
case known as Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is
making its way to the Supreme Court. It is a direct threat to
the rights established by Abood nearly 40 years ago. In
Friedrichs, a group of teachers claim that paying fees to a
union they do not wish to belong to is a violation of their
First Amendment Constitutional rights.
If the Supreme
Court decides to take the case (and experts expect they will)
and the justices side with the anti-union forces, it could
seriously weaken our efforts to negotiate good wages and
benefits for workers. That’s why AFSCME’s internal
organizing efforts are so important — to blunt any adverse
impact of a decision overturning Abood. ~ AFSCME
34 Officer Election! There
is one contested race for Executive Board Member at
Large: There are three open positions and four
candidates: Kenneth W. Garnier, Sharon Streeter,
Angel Alexander, Mohamed Falag. Voting for
contested races will be done by mail-in ballot in
the following manner: Beginning Monday, April 6 a
ballot will be mailed to each member’s last
known address. A self addressed stamped envelope
and a balloting envelope will be provided to
return the marked ballot. You can vote for up to
three of the candidates. Members will have until
Monday, April 27th to return their marked ballot.
Any ballots postmarked after April 27th will not
be counted. Ballots will be counted April 30, 5:30
p.m. at the Local 34 office.
New ballots were mailed to Local 34 members around
April 6 indicating members can vote for "up
to 3 candidates" for Executive Board Member
at Large - the original ballot indicated members
could "vote for only one".
return envelope has a green dot by your name in
the upper left hand corner of that envelope.
Please use that ballot and return envelope for
apologize for any confusion this error may cause
and thank you for taking the time to vote.
Local 34 Staff Representative Assigned! We
have a new staff representative for Local 34 -
Michael Lacoste. Please join us in welcoming
Michael to Local 34. He brings a wealth of
knowledge about union activism, negotiations and
growing unions during his years of service with
We wish to convey our deepest thanks and appreciation to
brother Matt Nelson for 15 years of service to the members
of Local 34. He will truly be missed! We wish him well in
his new assignment. We expect that Matt's last meeting
with Local 34 will be the May
6th General Membership meeting. We
will also take time out to recognize outgoing officers and
welcome all of the newly elected officers of Local 34 at
the May 6th meeting.
AFSCME Members Rally for Quality of Life in
Minnesota! Members of AFSCME Council 5
rallied in Saint Paul yesterday, 1,000-plus
strong, calling for the legislature to adopt a
state budget that delivers quality of life for all
Minnesotans. The rally came the same day that
Minnesota House Republican leaders released a
budget calling for budget cuts to human services
programs, despite a projected state budget surplus
of nearly $2 billion. “They want to fill
potholes with human services workers,” charged
Eliot Seide, executive director of AFSCME Council
5. “Their plan is to fill the potholes with your
jobs,” said Seide, addressing the crowd of
AFSCME members at the Crowne Plaza Hotel as part
Council 5’s “Day on the Hill.” Read
more at Workday Minnesota
just weeks left of Minnesota’s Legislative
Session, Committees are putting together their
budgets. The House has released their Health and
Human Services budget, and the Senate will do so
As health and human service professionals it is no
secret to you that health and human service
programs continue to be underfunded. Each year,
far more funds are requested from the legislature
than are available —even with this year’s
surplus in the State’s budget.
What you can do TODAY—
Chair of the Health and Human Services Budget
Division (even if you are not in his
your Senator sits on the Health and Human
Services Budget Division email them as well.
find contact information for your
legislators, click here.
and Human Services Budget Division Committee
Members, can be found here.
As a member of the Minnesota Social Service
Association (MSSA) and a health and human service
professional, I am concerned about the lack of
funding for health and human services programs
across the state and urge you to adequately fund
the following MSSA priorities:
Protection: In order to adequately
protect Minnesota’s most vulnerable citizens
additional funding is necessary. Funding for
child protection comes from federal, state and
local dollars, at the present time the state
of Minnesota contributes very few dollars
compared to other states. This impacts local
budgets and the capacity of the child
protection delivery service.
Campaign: In Minnesota, direct care
professionals and caregivers make an average
wage of $11.55 per hour. These workers provide
complex care. As a result of the historically
low wages there is a very high rate of
turnover which ultimately reduces the quality
of care to those receiving home and community
TXT4LIFE has been successfully piloted in the
northern part of Minnesota and offers those
struggling with an easy and accessible support
system. Expansion throughout the state will
help reduce the rate of suicide in Minnesota.
Public Health Grant: A strong and
responsive local public health system is
essential to the health and well-being of
Minnesotans. The restoration of funds to the
Local Public Health Grant is essential to
continue a strong public health system in
Minnesota. ~ Local 34 is an agency member
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