October Newsletter is now posted on the Local 34 website!


Solidarity Tuesdays - Wear Green to Work!

Union Opening Proposal

Union Response to Employers First Proposal  

Table Talk (August 25, 2015)

Table Talk (September 22, 2015)

In discussing negotiations recently, President Diederich indicated that Market Comparisons show Hennepin staff are grossly underpaid in comparison to our neighbors.

Contract Negotiation Updates


Labor Movie Night, “The Delano Manogs" - October 16th

Forgotten Heroes of the UFW” and hour long documentary about a small group of Filipinos who brought about the formation of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). 

View the Trailer

United Labor Center, 

 312 Central Ave. SE

Third Friday of the month, 6:00 pm 

Room 356 or 467

Snacks, beer and soda will be available during the films. Donations appreciated!

 Established in April 1950, AFSCME Local 34 represents over 2000 Social Service employees of Hennepin County. As a member, you become a supporter in our efforts to maintain and improve working conditions for everyone.

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Next Wave


2014-15 Contract

AFSCME Council 5

"We advocate for excellence in public services, dignity in the workplace, and opportunity and prosperity for all workers."

Action Update

AFSCME Congressional Reports

Labor Resources on Facebook

Links for Working Families

Workday 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.


AFSCME History





Douglas Graham serves as the Local 34 Dental Trustee

John Herzog - WEB Developer

AFSCME - Promoting excellence in public services, dignity in the workplace with opportunity and prosperity for all!

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


AFSCME Local 34       Updated 10/7/2015

General Membership Meeting (Wed., October 7, HSB L-15 - Note Room Change)  

Changing Your Workplace Starts with a Conversation


A voice in the board room starts with a voice in the break room. There's something every one of us can do to create change in our workplaces, and it always starts with a conversation - with colleagues or with decision makers. 

Make a commitment to start that conversation today.

Negotiation Update (9/22/2015) 

On September 14, union and county representatives met for 12 hours. Locals met separately with their departments on supplemental contract issues specific to their bargaining units. We also came very close to a settlement on health insurance, however, work remains and we are unsure an agreement will be reached in time for open enrollment. Please stay tuned for ongoing updates on health insurance and keep in mind what you may see in open enrollment may not be the final agreement.

The union proposed 5% in 2016 and 5% in 2017 cost of living increases (a two or three year contract has yet to be agreed upon).  he county has proposed 1% for employees at top pay and .75% for employees still in the range and who also are eligible for step increases. The County has agreed to step increases for those who are eligible for the length of the contract and we have agreed.

Our Union has been raising staffing issues and we have been heard! County Administrator, David Hough, proposed a 4.5% levy increase, one of the largest proposals in the last 10 years.The proposed increase is based on the need to increase staffing. County Board Chair, Jan Callison said in the Star Tribune that the demand for services is high and “We need to pay them (employees) their value…”  

While it is rewarding to hear the County Board and the County Administrator and our Union agrees on the need for staffing and wages, we need to support the commissioners to ensure this levy passes.  County residents do not always understand how these increases affect them or the workers who serve them every day.  

Please help your union bargaining team by wearing green on Tuesdays, distributing the table talk’s in your area and sign the petition to support your bargaining team!  

We need this levy to pass and we need to support our county commissioners on this issue. You can assist by calling your county commissioner and tell him/her you support David Hough's levy request and his budget that adds line staff positions and moves Hennepin County closer to becoming the employer of choice. If you don't live in Hennepin County, call Board Chair Jan Callison. County Commissioners need to know we support this levy and we support their efforts to increase staffing and wages. 

Contact our Educate, Engage, and Outreach Committee to find out how you can help: eeando@gmail.com. The next two negotiation sessions are scheduled for October 8th and October 15th.  

Wear Green on Tuesdays

Are you all wearing your green shirts? Take a picture of you and your coworkers to post on our Local 34 Facebook page, put in our newsletter and on our web site.  Everyone looks good in green!!!  

Board Approves Maximum Tax Levy, Moves Budget Cycle Ahead

At its September 22 meeting the Hennepin County Board approved a maximum property tax levy for 2016 of $726.8 million, the next step in the process of determining the county's 2016 budget. The maximum property tax levy represents an increase of 4.48 percent from last year's adjusted levy. The board is required by state law to adopt a maximum property tax levy in September. Commissioners may later approve a property tax levy that is lower than the approved maximum, but they cannot set it higher than the maximum adopted at the meeting.

On September 8, County Administrator David Hough presented a proposed overall budget of $1.9 billion; the figure the board approved on September 22 is the part of the budget that is covered by property taxes. Included in the budget proposal is a plan to improve the safety of children in the county, including increasing critical staff dealing with child protection and reexamining current work practices.

The largest areas of requested increase come in Children and Family Services and Assessment and Case Management. Refer to the October Newsletter for additional information and a breakdown of proposed staffing needs.  

Next Wave

The next meeting of the Council 5 Next Wave Committee will be on November 14, 11:00 a.m., at the AFSCME Council 5 office in South St. Paul.  

Wellness Credits  

Important note – do not wait until the last minute to earn your wellness credits and complete the health assessment. Getting the information recorded as early as possible keeps the Preferred One site from being overloaded with last minute updates. We have had members who did not get their information recorded on time which resulted in not receiving the reduced copay for office visits the following year. Employees, spouses and retirees with county health insurance have the option to earn the health incentive, which will reduce their office visit co-pays by $15 in 2016.  There are two months left to complete the requirements – don’t wait until the last minute!  To earn the 2016 health insurance incentive, employees, spouses and retirees covered under the county health plan must complete the following two steps by 4:30 pm on Saturday, October 31, 2015.   

AFSCME Puts Video Webinars Online

AFSCME International has opened an online video library on basic union practices for local officers and activists. The videos cover topics such as Weingarten rights, fair representation, and just cause. 

Scholarship Applications Available

AFSCME International is accepting applications for its annual Family Scholarship. The renewable, $2,000 scholarship is for current high-school seniors in AFSCME families who will graduate in 2016. Details: Application materials and full eligibility requirements are available online. The application deadline is December 31. 

Local 34 Wins Mike Buesing Local Union Development Award

Congratulations to Local 34 Hennepin County Social Services, recipients of the Mike Buesing Local Union Development Award! The award honors significant contributions to internal mobilization and local union development. Accepting the award on behalf of the local were Jean Diederich (Local 34 President) and delegates of Local 34 to the Council 5 Convention held in Duluth. 

"Local 34 members are winners, said President Diederich. Our fabulously motivated local members - and that is every single one who carries a union card, talks about union to your coworkers, brings your concerns forward, helps with distributing union information, coming to County Board meetings and rallies - have earned this honor - the 2015 Mike Buesing Local Union Development Award. We keep our local moving forward because we know how important it is to be a part of something bigger than each of as individuals. Congratulations to each and every one of you as we share this honor from our sisters and brothers of Council 5."

A Common Commitment

In a brief but heartfelt speech, Governor Mark Dayton reminded Council 5 convention delegates Saturday how much they have accomplished together – but how much of a threat right-wing ideology remains to good union jobs and good public services. In what has become an annual appearance, Dayton was casual and relaxed as he told delegates how happy he was to see them again – and how happy he was that, unlike in 2014, he didn’t have to look at a sea of 600 delegates wearing shirts with his face on it. Dayton referred often to the mutual bond he has with AFSCME. The reason is simple, he said: “Providing public services in the best way possible is our shared commitment.” Read more  

Defending Good Jobs in Duluth

More than 600 members of Council 5 led other unions in a boisterous rally outside the Radisson hotel in downtown Duluth Oct. 2, protesting the new owner’s use of nonunion painters from Texas for renovation work, even though local union painters are out of work. Duluth Building Trades unions have been bannering the hotel for six weeks, but Friday’s rally – complete with an inflatable rat – was the biggest demonstration yet. “We’re not going to let these guys destroy our standard of living,” said Craig. Rally photos. Duluth Building Trades unions have been bannering the hotel for six weeks, but Friday’s rally – complete with an inflatable rat – was the biggest demonstration yet. “We’re not going to let these guys destroy our standard of living,” said Craig Olson, president of the local Building Trades council. Dennis Frazier, president of AFSCME Local 66 in Duluth, told Friday’s rally that unions need to continue fighting for all workers against a mentality that puts profits before people. “All we ask for as workers are good jobs with good wages,” Frazier said. Read more

Strength One Member at a Time

In the largest AFSCME Strong training ever to take place in our union, more than 625 delegates to Council 5’s convention in Duluth pledged they will not take “no” for an answer when it comes to building their union. The AFSCME Strong campaign is built on a commitment to talk more frequently with more co-workers, find out the issues co-workers care about and want to fix, and increase everyone’s power on the job by signing up more workers as full union members, not just fee-payers.

The renewed commitment is a plan to ward off the potential consequences of an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling. That case, known as Friedrichs, could cripple public employee unions within six months. The court is expected to override state labor laws and expand “right to work” restrictions to public workers nationwide. In essence, it could make the entire public sector like Wisconsin. But the Friedrichs case – backed by a raft of right-wing groups such as ALEC and financed by the dark money of the Koch Brothers network – does not have to determine the future of our unions, says Council 5 executive director Eliot Seide. “If we want a union, and we’re willing to talk one on one with our members, nobody – nobody – can take this union away from us.” Read more  

Federal Government Shutdown Averted

With only hours to spare on the last day of the fiscal year, Congress averted a government shutdown on Wednesday by approving a temporary spending measure to keep federal agencies operating through December 11. In the House, the legislation was approved only because of strong support by Democrats - a sign of how angry rank-and-file Republicans remain over their powerlessness to force policy changes on the Obama administration. The House vote was 257 to 151, with 186 Democrats and 91 Republicans in favor. All of the “no” votes were by Republicans. Earlier on Wednesday, the Senate approved the temporary spending bill by a vote of 78 to 20.

Tomorrow's Leaders

Today’s young workers are part of the largest generation to enter the workforce since the baby boomers. People born between the late 1970s and 2000 also make up the most diverse and technologically savvy generation in America’s history. But they suffer the nation’s highest unemployment - about twice the national average - and the fewest job opportunities in today’s economy. And this isn’t just a U.S. problem - it’s global. Yet this generation of young workers is active, engaged and ready to reverse economic and social injustice. With students, civil and human rights advocates, LGBTQ activists and many others, young union members and nonunion workers are coming together in a powerful force.








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