New Domestic Violence Resource 

We Must Do More To Protect Women From Violence!

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and with it coming to a close we wanted to share a new resource on this important issue. Earlier this month The Center for American Progress launched, a new website that provides state-specific information about the intersection of gun violence and domestic violence and highlights the work of partner organizations such as Americans for Responsible Solutions, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and Everytown for Gun Safety. The website supports the work of the Protect All Women Leadership Network, a national network of women leaders seeking solutions that protect women from gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous abusers and stalkers. Check out and follow the conversation online at #ProtectAllWomen. 

Bottom Line: From 2001 to 2012, 6,410 women were murdered in this country by an intimate partner using a gun - more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in action during the entirety of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. We must do more to prevent stalkers and domestic abusers from having easy access to guns - it’s an issue that is too important to ignore. ~ The Progress Report

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  AFSCME Local 34 Member News  

Established in April 1950, AFSCME Local 34 represents over 1900 Social Service employees of Hennepin County.

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

                                AFSCME Local 34  Updated 10/24/2014

Protect all the gains we've made for working families! 

This is what democracy is all about - voting. There's so much at stake this year for women, for students, for seniors and for working families that every vote will matter. When more people know the issues and get out to vote, then democracy works -- and we can help it work.

As the temperature is dropping, the election season is heating up. Soon we will be voting to decide the future of Minnesota. Will we keep moving our state forward for working families? 

Governor Dayton and DFL majorities have made astounding progress during the last two years by creating an economy that works better for everyone. They approved contracts with pay raises for state employees. They raised the minimum wage to lift hardworking families out of poverty. They leveled the economic playing field for women. They made sure every child has access to free all-day kindergarten. They passed property tax relief for middle-class homeowners. They required the richest two percent to pay their fair share of income taxes. And they turned a budget deficit into a surplus! ~ AFSCME Council 5  

Time off for voting on Election Day - November 4th 

Article 20 of our Local 34 Contract: “An employee who is entitled to vote in any election, as defined in M.S. 204C.04, subd 2, may absent himself/herself from his/her work for the purpose of voting during such election day for a period not to exceed two (2) hours without deduction from salary on account of such absence, provided the employee has made prior arrangements for the absence with the Employer.  Any employee making claim for time off for voting and not casting a ballot or utilizing the time off for unauthorized purposes shall be subject to disciplinary action.  

Please let your supervisor know now if you plan to take the time off for voting.  S/he needs that time to make sure that your team/unit has adequate staffing to meet your area’s business needs. 

New website makes voting easier than ever!

MNVotes, the new website launched by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, makes it easier than ever to vote in the November 4 elections. Minnesotans can register online, request absentee ballots, find their polling places and more. Read more.

See a list of candidates endorsed by local AFSCME PEOPLE committees.

If you want to volunteer with other AFSCME members and retirees to support candidates who support us, call AFSCME Council 5’s Jon Grebner: 651-287-0587. 

Good News From Your Union! Hennepin County has agreed that there will be no premium increase for all health plans in 2015. This is in part due to the extraordinary performance of the self-insurance plan negotiated four years ago. It also has to do with members being healthier, so all those wellness activities are starting to pay off. Hennepin County Medical Center/NorthPoint is a new network option available with Advantage! Find out more about this network for Hennepin County employees that will cost 10% less than the Standard plan and 5% less than other Advantage plans. You will need to have your health  incentive activities completed before the end of the business day on October 31st.

Health Care Open Enrollment Begins: November 10, 2014 Ends: November 25, 2014, 4:30 p.m. Open enrollment is your opportunity to review your benefits elections, make changes, enroll in flexible spending and enroll or cancel eligible dependents in your health or dental plans. During open enrollment you can:

  • Enroll in or change health insurance plans.

  • Enroll in the voluntary dental plan.

  • Enroll or waive coverage for yourself or eligible family members.

  • Enroll or re-enroll in a flexible spending account (requires annual enrollment).

  • Enroll in the vacation-PTO cash out program.

Local 34 dues Increase proposed! The Budget & Finance Committee reported that meetings have commenced for the year, and the committee has been diligently working to flesh out what a membership dues increase would look like, based on 2015 wages. A presentation of the dues amendement with discussion will be presented at the November 5th General Membership meeting. That meeting will be held in HSB 110 at 5:30 p.m., and is open to all of our members. After discussion and questions/answers by the members present at the meeting, the membership will then vote on the dues amendment to our constitution.

Future Issues of the Local 34 Newsletter! The Executive Board has decided that beginning with the October 2014 issue, our newsletter will no longer be distributed in paper version to each individual member. The PDF version will be made available to each of you through e-mail links via unit representatives. We are in the process of building an “e-tree” – similar to a phone tree but with e-mail addresses – with a contact from every team/unit in our local to receive notices of the newsletter being ready, flyers, etc. and then share them with the team/unit.  If you are willing to serve as that person for your unit, please send an e-mail to Kay Powell,   Our goal is to be able to get our information shared as quickly as possible. Until that system is in place you can contact our Newsletter Editor, Wesley Volkenant, and he will email you a notice once the newsletter has been posted on the Local 34 website. You can also view all copies of our Local 34 newsletters dating back to 2002 on this website. A shorter version of our newsletter will also be posted on all union bulletin boards in your work areas.

Hennepin  County Department Budget Briefings! The County Board will begin their Department briefings prior to setting the 2015 budget and maximum tax levy. Here is the schedule. Consider sitting in on the briefing for your department. Wear green. Bring coworkers. Fill up the seats. Pay attention. Keep in mind that County Administrator David Hough's proposed budget will add 120 new positions as of 1/1/15. According to Human Resources Director, Rafe Viscasillas, they are supposed to be all line staff, - and he said that I could quote him on that. We know that 30 are slated for Social Worker positions, 2 for Child Support and some for Human Service Representatives as well as 22 or so for Probation Officers. It will be interesting to see how those numbers add up on 1/1/15. ~ Jean Diederich, President, Local 34

The Union Plus® Mortgage program, with financing provided by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage can help you with your mortgage needs whether you are purchasing your first home, buying a new home, or refinancing your current mortgage. Did you know that in addition to all active & retired union members, parents and children of union members are also eligible to participate in the Union Plus Mortgage program? Join over 200,000 of your fellow union members and their families who have already taken advantage of this fantastic opportunity and these exclusive benefits. Call 1-866-802-7312 to talk with a Union Plus Mortgage specialist to help you find the home financing that works for you or request Union Plus Mortgage consultation today. ~ Union Plus

We wanted you to be the first to know about a brand-new grant for union member veterans. The Union Plus Mortgage Veterans Grants program will provide qualified union member veterans with a $1,000 grant that never needs to be repaid! This exciting program launches November 1 and the funds are limited. The American Dream of homeownership is too often out of reach, especially for those of your members who made sacrifices in protecting our country. Union Plus wants to make the dream of homeownership more affordable for hard working union members who have served in our armed forces. The Veterans Grants program, a NEW grant feature of the Union Plus Mortgage program, provides qualified union member veterans with a $1,000 grant that never needs to be repaid to help offset the costs of a down payment.


Be sure you and your members don't miss out on valuable offers like this by signing up for the FREE union benefits e-newsletter, Union Plus E-News. You’ll be the first to find out about new and updated benefits for working families including scholarships, discounts and financial services. The Union Plus E-News is a free monthly subscription. Read archives and samples of Union Plus E-News here

Government Could Save $7.6 Billion By Raising Minimum Wage! A new report from the Economic Policy Institute says the government could save $7.6 billion on public benefits to workers living in poverty if the minimum wage went up to $10.10 an hour. The report said if the federal minimum wage had kept pace with productivity growth since the 1960’s – the last time it was tied to inflation – it would be $18.42 today. Read more  

10 Reasons to Stay in Child Protection Social Work! This is not a short-term career and the profession needs experienced workers, so give it a good run. No two days will ever be the same. The variety of children, families, complex problem-solving, situations and locations will keep your brain moving at a pace. You will be in a process of continuous learning for as long as you stay in the job. Read more

Minneapolis Unions Launch Campaign over Unsafe Conditions At Ridgedale Center Mall! A 28-union coalition is launching a “Shop at Your Own Risk” campaign in Minnetonka warning of safety problems at the Ridgedale Center shopping mall renovation project. The unions are launching a mobile safety information campaign aimed at mall customers after the mall owner – General Growth Properties – failed to adequately respond to the safety concerns. Dan McConnell is the Business Manager of the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council. The Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council has distributed letters to businesses in the mall informing them of the safety problems and the coming union campaign about them. The union coalition is also launching a web site called “ to highlight the safety issues.

Paid Parental Leave Policy! St. Paul is poised to become the second city in Minnesota (after Brooklyn Park) to offer paid maternity leave to city employees. A resolution that has the unanimous support of the city's seven council members "would provide four weeks paid salary to the birthing employee mother and two weeks paid salary to the non-birthing employee parent or adoptee employee parent. Read more

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