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

  Newsletter - June/July

  President's Blog - June/July  

 Local 34 Officers

Local 34 Stewards

Local 34 Member News 

Join AFSCME   

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.

     Pioneer Press Workers Join Nationwide Contract Campaign, Win First Raise in Seven Years  

After banding together with workers at 11 other newspapers owned by the same hedge fund, union members at the St. Paul Pioneer Press won their first wage increase in seven years, part of a new three-year contract they voted to ratify August 9.

Members of the Minnesota Newspaper and Communications Guild will receive 3-percent raises January 1, 2017, according to terms of the new agreement, which also calls for “wage reopeners” – negotiations that could lead to additional raises – in the contract’s second and third years.

As they did this summer, Pioneer Press workers will participate in any additional bargaining jointly with other members of Guild locals employed by Digital First Media, a newspaper group owned by Alden Global Capital.

In an innovative and historic contract campaign, Pioneer Press workers joined forces with fellow Guild members at publications across the country, including The Denver Post, The Mercury News, The Trentonian and eight others.

Together, they launched the “#NewsMatters” campaign more than seven moths ago, using social media, member mobilization and an online petition drive to put the heat on management. More than 11,000 people nationwide joined in calling on Digital First to support quality journalism by negotiating fairly with the workers who make it possible.

Last month, the campaign delivered results at the bargaining table, as Digital First workers leveraged their collective weight to win across-the-board raises at all 12 newspapers, including some that hadn’t seen increases in 10 years.

But the company refused to budge when it came to one major concession: job security for workers in circulation and page production.

According to the Guild, the Pioneer Press is likely to outsource field circulation to local contractors, which would affect about 36 workers, mostly part-time. And up to eight local page-production workers could see their jobs outsourced before the new contract expires, as Digital First looks to centralize production at a common location for all of its publications.

In a statement on the Minnesota Guild’s website, the Pioneer Press bargaining team said it secured a “letter of agreement regarding enhanced severance packages and limits on the number of positions that may be outsourced” in production, and enhanced severance for any outsourced circulation employees.

The new contract also rolls back the Pioneer Press’ ability to furlough Guild members, capping the number of unpaid days management can impose at three in 2018 and eliminating unpaid days altogether in 2019.

The Minnesota Newspaper and Communications Guild, TNG-CWA Local 37002, currently represents 167 Pioneer Press employees.

A grant from the Communications Workers of America, the Newspaper Guild’s parent union, helped make the joint bargaining framework possible, covering travel and other costs. ~ Union Advocate



  AFSCME Local 34                       Updated 8/19/2016


AFSCME Family Picnic

  August 21 from 1 to 5 p.m., Battle Creek Regional Park, Maplewood.  


Welcome New Executive Board Member (New)

Congratulations to our newest Local 34 Executive Board officer, Member-at-Large Tamika Hannah!!!! We welcome her to the Executive Board and look forward to working with her in this new role.

Justice Department Plans to Stop Using Private Prisons (New)

The Department of Justice will stop contracting with private prisons, the department announced Thursday morning. The decision comes a week after the DOJ inspector general released a damning report on the safety, security, and oversight of private prisons, which incarcerate 12 percent of federal inmates. The announcement comes on the heels of a Mother Jones investigation of a private prison in Louisiana that found serious deficiencies in staffing and security. It also documented a higher rate of violence than the prison reported. Last week's DOJ report found that private prisons are more violent than federal prisons. As of December 2015, private prisons incarcerated about 22,600 federal inmates. The news of the DOJ's decision prompted a quick downturn in stock prices for the two largest private prison companies. The decision was announced in a memo by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, according to the Washington Post. The memo directs department officials not to renew existing contracts or to "substantially reduce" their scope, with the goal of "reducing—and ultimately ending—our use of privately operated prisons." ~ Mother Jones

Read Mother Jones' editor-in-chief and CEO on what it took to pull off our investigation.

Quitters Don't  

As AFSCME members, you keep our neighborhoods safe and our streets clean. You keep our schools running well and our communities strong. And you never quit. Fortified by the work we do in our communities and the strength we derive from standing together, AFSCME members are always looking to the future with determination and pride. AFSCME members never quit doing the work that keeps our communities safe, better and thriving. No matter how steep the challenges thrown at us by our enemies, we'll continue providing the best public service to working families throughout this country. We’re at a turning point in our union’s history. Let’s renew our resolve to protect the rights and benefits we’ve earned in the workplace, so that we can continue providing quality service to our communities. Together, we are a force for good for America’s working families. We are AFSCME.


Learning from History  

AFSCME Council 5 retirees got a moving view of the Holocaust through the eyes and artwork of children. Playwright and historian Celeste Raspanti – the Cathedral of St. Paul archivist - told the story of Jewish children in the Theresienstadt concentration camp in her play, I Never Saw Another Butterfly. She shared that story at a recent AFSCME Council 5 Retirees United meeting. “I thought it was a most moving presentation, both for the work Celeste did to research the story, but also the story itself, of those children who were murdered and those few survivors,” says Retirees United West Metro Subchapter president Mike Nelson. “We need to continually retell the stories of history so we don't repeat the tragedies again and again as we so often do.” Read more  

Dayton Declares He Won't Call Special Session (New)

Funding for a light rail line has derailed plans for a special session that would have addressed three key issues left unresolved during the 2016 session: bonding, taxes and transportation. After an approximately 30-minute meeting on Thursday, Gov. Mark Dayton said he and legislative leaders could not reach agreement on all issues needed for the state’s top-elected official to call legislators back to St. Paul to finish work not completed earlier this year. “Given that the disagreements remain what they were at the end of the legislative session three months ago, I’m not going to call a special session; I’m not going to pursue it any further,” Dayton said. Read more

State Fair Volunteers Still Needed 

Want to do fun and important work with AFSCME Council 5? We’re looking for volunteers for the Minnesota State Fair. It’s a pretty great day: In return for a 3.5-hour shift at the kiosk sharing your labor values, you get a cool State Fair T-shirt and a free ticket. The rest of the day is yours to munch on cheese curds and pickles on a stick. This year’s Fair runs from Thursday, August 25, until Labor Day, Monday, September 5. If you can be part of this year’s fun, please email for details.  

Labor Day Weekend Door-Knock  

Wes Volkenant (long time Local 34 member) is inviting union and political brothers and sisters to meet at his house on Sunday afternoon, September 4th, at 1:30 pm, to spend a couple of hours knocking at targeted doors in various precincts of House District 35B - the City of Andover and the northern portion of Coon Rapids. Wes is running for the House seat in 35B. If you able and willing to participate, e-mail Wes at or call him at 763-434-1551 with questions or if you need directions to Wes's home. He'll have Wes V for 35B t-shirts (various sizes), voter contact lists, maps, campaign literature pieces, and beverages and snacks for the volunteers.  

Labor Day Parade at the State Fair 

Labor Day is September 5, and union members will walk with their friends and family members in the Minnesota State Fair’s Labor Day parade through the fairgrounds. The 2 p.m. event is an opportunity to recognize the working people who keep America strong. The St. Paul Regional Labor Federation sponsors the parade unit annually. Union members will march alongside two patriotic floats, while union musicians and the Twin Cities Labor chorus perform labor and patriotic songs. Union members and retirees are invited to bring their families and join the RLF’s parade unit. Participants will receive a free ticket to the fair. This is our day. Let’s make an impact! For a ticket to participate in the parade, you must RSVP. For more information on the event and to RSVP, call Vicki Beebe at 651-222-3787, x120.


The annual Local 34 Executive Board Retreat will be held on September 14.  


AFSCME Council 5 advocates 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!