Local 34 Proposed Dues Increase! 

A proposed dues amendment will be presented at the November 5th General Membership meeting. That meeting will be held in the Health Services Building, Room 110 at 5:30 p.m., and is open to all of our members. 

We will have the 2nd reading of an amendment to our Local 34 Constitution regarding a proposed dues increase at that time. The Local 34 Budget & Finance Committee will answer any questions that members might have about the proposal. At the end of discussion, the membership will vote on the dues amendment.

Click here to read a copy of the 'current" and the "new" proposed language.

We strongly encourage you to participate in this process. The last time our dues changed was in 2005 when we changed to the current 1% structure effective January 2006. Our local budget has absorbed all per capita increases from both AFSCME International and Council 5 since that time.

  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 10/30/2014

"Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people's lives." ~ Senator Paul Wellstone

Election Day is Tuesday November 4th

 Polling places are open from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Find out where you vote and who is on your ballot!


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

AFSCME Local 34 retiree Katie Farber talks with voter Harold Wachtier at his Eagan home. Farber has been door knocking for AFSCME-endorsed candidates in the south suburbs at least once a week since May. In the past month, she’s been out two or three times a week, with a goal of at least 90 doors each week.

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.

For public employees, the people we elect determine the quality of our lives and our livelihood. Our wages, benefits, working conditions, health and safety, and even whether we have jobs at all, are in the hands of officials who influence our future. Unless, that is, we hold them accountable. Our activism in politics is incredibly important.

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? Which direction will your vote take Minnesota on November 4th?

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. They put same-sex marriage into law. They voted to give child care workers the choice to unionize. 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 the AFSCME PEOPLE Committee.

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.

Who are the Hennepin County Board Candidates in 2014?

In District 2, Linda Higgins is unopposed for re-election. In District 3, recently-elected Marion Greene has survived both a Special Election and a Primary already in 2014. She faces Jeffrey Beck, who lived outside the District prior to October 1. And, in District 4, long-time Board member Peter McLaughlin faces community activist, “Captain Jack Sparrow” (yes, that’s his legal name).

AFSCME has endorsed Commissioners Linda Higgins, Marion Greene and Peter McLaughlin. 

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:  

  1. Enroll in or change health insurance plans.

  2. Enroll in the voluntary dental plan.  

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

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

  5. Enroll in the vacation-PTO cash out program.Donation! At the October general membership meeting, the Local approved a $500 contribution to the NSJ Capital Fund to help pay for a bust of Minnesota labor and feminist pioneer, Nellie Stone Johnson, at the State Capitol.

Grievances! Matt Nelson (Business Representative for Local 34) is currently working on four discipline cases. There are three 5-day suspension grievances and one written reprimand grievance. They are all performance-related. The County always writes a performance issue as insubordination. The County is doing this so they do not have to pay unemployment insurance. The County hopes the employee does not appeal the denial of unemployment benefits, as the State will usually deny a claim if “insubordination” is the claim. We recently had a member who was terminated for performance (“insubordination”). The State denied her case, but she was able to win after an appeal. Performance-related issues are not insubordination, and any member who is denied unemployment for performance issues needs to appeal their denial.

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, kay.powell@hennepin.us.   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.

Executive Board Vacancy! On 11/19/14 the Local 34 Executive Board will hold a special election to fill the vacant Executive Board Member-at-Large seat. If you are interested in finding out the job duties of that office, please let me know and I will send the information to you. If you wish to put your name forward for the election, contact me by no later than Tuesday, November 18, 2014. The meeting in held at 5:30 PM in HSB 917. ~ Jean Diederich, Local 34 President

Donation! At the October General Membership meeting, the Local approved a $500 contribution to the NSJ Capital Fund to help pay for a bust of Minnesota labor and feminist pioneer, Nellie Stone Johnson, at the State Capitol.

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

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  

Airport Workers Mobilize for Higher Wage! Workers at airports across the country have raised their wages to a minimum of $15 an hour and sparked wage increase campaigns in nearby cities. After Sea-Tac workers in Washington won a ballot initiative to raise their wages, a mobilization in nearby Seattle succeeded in passing a $15 an hour minimum in that city. Workers at the Los Angeles and St. Louis airports also won minimum wage increases. Workers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport are organizing to do the same. Airport workers with 15 Now Minnesota members and supporters testified at the monthly meeting of the Metropolitan Airports Commission on Monday. They spoke to keep up the pressure on the body to raise the wages of thousands of MSP workers, who now make wages at or only a little above the current $8 an hour Minnesota minimum. Following the comments to the commission, advocates marched through the airport and rallied across the road from the terminal. 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 “ShopAtYourOwnRisk.com to highlight the safety issues.

St. Paul 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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