Can't Win if you Don't Fight

“Union members know that freedom is not given, it’s fought for, and it must be protected.” ~Eliot Seide, AFSCME Council 5  

One Strong, United Voice for Workers

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

Newsletter  (August, 2017)

President's Blog  (August, 2017)


"Look to the future. Work for change. Represent those who have no voice. Do not falter. There is much to be done." ~ Paul

"On this anniversary of the death of Paul Wellstone (October 25), the framing questions of his first run for public office continue to resonate as they did in 1982. We can learn from Paul’s fundamental decency and civility, and from his unique ability to connect with people from all parts of our state. He listened to and respected the opinions of the people he represented, including those with whom he disagreed...Now more than ever, our nation could use more of the politics that he inspired. We are all called to continue Paul’s work to hold powerful interests accountable and ensure that all voices are given access and representation in government. " ~ DFL Representative Frank Hornstein




History Theatre chronicles push for civil rights legislation

October 7-29: Taking office as President in 1963 after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson would push — and some say, be pushed — to enact sweeping civil rights legislation. That’s the dramatic story in the regional premiere of “All the Way,” which will run Oct. 7-29 at History Theatre, 310 E. 10th St., St. Paul. Characters in the play — which won the 2014 Tony Award for best play — include Johnson, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey and Roy Wilkins, among others. Ticket prices are $27-$52 for adults, $25-$47 for seniors, $15 for students. Group rates for 10 or mpore tickets are available. For more information, visit the History Theatre website or call 651-292-4323. Free for ticketed guests, post-show discussions will follow Sunday matinée performances. ~ Workday Minnesota

November 2: On Thursday, November 2 @ 7:00­­PM, Nancy MacLean, Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University, will discuss “The Origins of the Radical Right and the Crisis of Our Democracy.”  Nancy is the author of a new, controversial book, DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS, an explosive exposé of the little-known thinker behind the radical right’s relentless campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize public education, stop action on climate change, and alter the Constitution: the Nobel Prize winning political economist James McGill Buchanan. It was Buchanan who taught billionaire Charles Koch that for capitalism to thrive, democracy must be enchained. Come hear MacLean share the story of how she found the trail of this collaboration in the archives as she explains its frightening endgame and import. Free and Open to All. East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street, Saint Paul, MN 55106.  

November 10: Labor Ball 5, Friday, November 10 at 4 PM - 8 PM. James Ballentine "Uptown" VFW - Post 246, 2916 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis

November 15: AFSCME has made a commitment to getting back to organizing basics, building power at the grassroots level and hearing the unique concerns of every public service worker in one-on-one conversations. As a union, we will never quit fighting for the respect and opportunity public service workers deserve, because public service workers never quit on our communities.

Who: All are welcome! Anyone who wants to learn more about or get a feel for union organizing or get more involved in our union.

When: Next event is November 15th, 9:00-4:00, South Minneapolis Hub, Room 122. 

How: Let Deb Konechne know. Ask for the day off, take Special Leave Without Pay (SLWOP) and our union pays your day’s wages.  

Local 34 will continue our efforts to develop Member Action Teams (MAT) during 2017. The structure is aimed at fostering communication, networking and organizing for our members. Our goal is to have 80 MAT leaders by the end of 2017. Contact Deb Konechne, Local 34 Membership Secretary for more information and to express your interest in becoming a MAT leader. Contact Deb at or or call her at 612-816-4321.  


Closed group: Email Amanda Abell for an invite



     AFSCME Local 34                                     Updated 10/23/2017


“Workers’ rights, human rights and civil rights are inextricably tied together. The world is more beautiful when we embrace our diversity so that we can all reach our human potential.”





State workers aren't to blame for budget mess

I'm proud to do Minnesota's work. I'm a lab assistant at MState in Moorhead. I don't get rich working for the state, but I make a difference every day by helping students become amazing nurses who heal us when we're sick.  

I'm stunned that Republican legislators took a 45 percent pay raise for themselves and gave massive tax breaks to big corporations and their rich friends. Now, they want to take away a 2 percent cost-of-living raise from hard-working state employees and blame us for the budget mess they created.  

Wages and benefits for all state employees account for only 2 percent of the state budget. We are not the problem. We are not the reason tuition is increasing. We are your friends, your neighbors and your customers. Just like you, we're struggling paycheck-to-paycheck.  

Republicans say government needs to be run like a business. I've worked in the private sector and no boss has ever treated me with so much disrespect. ~ Joel Hoffman - Hoffman lives in Detroit Lakes, Minn.  





Minnesota Legislature should approve state worker contracts ~ Eliot Seide (10/16/2017)

Despite taking a 45 percent pay raise for themselves, Republican lawmakers have denied a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for 30,000 hardworking Minnesota state workers.

The Subcommittee on Employee Relations voted 6-4 along party lines with six Republicans voting to reject union contracts with AFSCME Council 5 and MAPE.

Approval of our contracts shouldn't be so difficult. Labor and management bargained in good faith. We agreed to a 2 percent raise this year and 2.25 percent next year. Those raises are in line with the private sector, where large companies are giving their workers 3 percent increases.

Our deals also save the state money on health care and are within the operating budgets already set by the Legislature.

These modest contracts are affordable for the state and fairly compensate the people who do Minnesota's work.

Yet Republicans say taxpayers can't afford our contracts. Their hypocrisy is shameful. Those politicians pocketed a $15,000 pay raise and gave massive tax breaks to big corporations and their wealthy buddies. Now, they want to take away our raises and our rights.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) told Minnesota Public Radio, "I'm concerned that what we have here is increasing the payrolls of people who happen to work for government at the expense of people who don't work for government."

Don't be fooled by Drazkowski. He authored legislation to give all workers the right-to-work for less money. We believe every worker deserves a cost-of-living raise, whether they work in the public sector or private sector.

This attack on public workers is no surprise. It's happening nationwide. Big corporations and the wealthy — along with the politicians who do their bidding — have rigged our economy and our political system against working people.

Minnesotans are working longer hours for less money and fewer benefits, despite being more productive. No matter how hard we work, many of us are struggling to get by and provide for our families. A cost-of-living increase isn't too much to ask while lawmakers and CEOs see their salaries and wealth skyrocket.

When right-wing extremists attack labor unions, they're really attacking the belief that everyday people should have decent wages, benefits and a pension. For a generation, the elites have held down the working class with stagnant wages and eroding health and retirement security.

Republicans use their bullhorn to blame public workers for deficits and debt. The working class shouldn't be fooled by this attempt to distract and divide us. Public workers teach our kids, heal the sick, protect our communities, plow our roads, clean our water, and much more. Erasing all of us wouldn't even begin to erase the deficits caused by corporate welfare.  

Public workers are your friends, your neighbors and your customers. Nearly 22,000 of us live and work in Greater Minnesota, where we spend our paychecks at grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations. Every time government cuts a public worker's job or pay, Main Street loses a customer. As more stores shutter their doors, that's not what our communities need.

Public workers are not the culprits who created an economy that works only for the rich. We're struggling paycheck to paycheck just like most Minnesotans. We're tired of being pawns in a political game.

Shame on the six Republicans who voted to reject our contracts: Reps. Marion O'Neill (R-Maple Lake), Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa), John Howe (R-Rockville), and Sens. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake), Mark Koran (R-Stacy) and Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson).

Their action is a slap in the face to every worker who demands dignity and respect on the job. It harms morale and hinders our state's efforts to retain workers and recruit new talent. Minnesotans should let GOP legislators know that maintaining high-quality state services requires competitive compensation for state workers.

Fortunately, the Legislature is not bound by the subcommittee's recommendation. The subcommittee has rejected contracts twice since 2010 — and the Legislature approved both deals. We hope the House and Senate vote to approve our state contracts when they return to the State Capitol next year.

Eliot Seide is Executive Director of AFSCME Council 5, a union representing the 15,504 state workers whose contract was rejected.




SER Rejects State Employee Contracts


Since 1979, the top 1 percent has seen wage growth of 137 percent - and the top 0.1 percent twice as fast. In contrast, the wages of the bottom 90 percent grew just 21 percent, and most of that was in the late 1990s.

The Legislature’s Subcommittee on Employee Relations (SER) recommended Thursday that the Minnesota Legislature reject state worker contracts. The 6-4 vote was along strict party lines, with Republicans voting to reject the two-year contract. It would have covered nearly 30,000 state workers represented by AFSCME Council 5 and MAPE. "State employees negotiated a fair return on their work," says Eliot Seide, executive director of AFSCME Council 5, the union that represents 15,504 workers harmed by the decision. "Under this new contract, we should receive a 2 percent raise this year and 2.25 percent next year. Our wages and benefits are in line with the private sector. It's a fair deal for state workers and Minnesota taxpayers." "We're tired of being pawns in a political game where Republicans think they can score points by beating up on hardworking people,” Seide says. “They reject our contracts while they approve massive tax breaks for corporations and their wealthy cronies.  Shame on them." ~ Read more  


John Herzog - WEB Developer

AFSCME Local 34, P.O. Box 15222, Commerce Station, Mpls., Mn. 55415 was first created on 4/29/2001. 

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