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)


Workday Minnesota editor job posting

The Labor Education Service (LES) is seeking a full-time labor educator to join our staff with primary responsibilities as editor of the Workday Minnesota project. This is an exciting opportunity for a skilled and creative communicator with a commitment to economic and social justice. Workday Minnesota is a project produced by LES in cooperation with labor and community organizations. It consists of a website and social media that provide news and resources on activities and issues important to working people. While the editor is based in the Twin Cities, Workday serves the entire state. The editor has primary responsibility for this project and collaborates with other members of the LES media team. For full job description and instructions for applying, see attachment. Application deadline: September 29, 2017

Union jobs fair

The Northwest Suburbs Community Labor Coalition and Working Partnerships are hosting a Union Jobs Fair on September 27th at the Pipefitters Training Center (6200 Lakeland Avenue north, Brooklyn Park). They are inviting a variety of union employers and union training & apprenticeship programs to participate in the employer panel and hiring event.




Closed group: Email Amanda Abell for an invite



     AFSCME Local 34                                     Updated 9/26/2017




No vote scheduled on GOP repeal of Affordable Care Act 

The Senate will not vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal Obamacare, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Republicans in a closed-door meeting, three sources told CNN. McConnell met with lawmakers Tuesday to take stock of where his members are on the proposal and make the call once and for all if Graham-Cassidy, the latest bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, will get a vote in the Senate.

On Monday, Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, finally came out against the bill, a position she'd been teetering toward for days. Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky also opposed to the measure. The calculations for health care are agonizing for McConnell. Putting a controversial bill on the floor without the votes exposes members to political fallout and attack ads. Many Republicans haven't even taken a public position on Graham-Cassidy, a bill that the Congressional Budget Office said Monday would drastically cut Medicaid and lead to millions of people not having health insurance compared to the status quo.

On Capitol Hill, there are rumblings among lawmakers about ways to keep trying on repeal if this week ends with defeat (the current legislative vehicle that Republicans are using to move a health care bill without any Democratic support expires after Saturday).  

One idea -- which hardly enjoys widespread support at the moment -- is to tie both health care and tax reform to the 2018 budget. Graham and Sen. Ron Johnson, who both sit on the budget committee, have advocated for this idea. It has raised concerns among Republican lawmakers and staff alike who know just how messy that could potentially be. One GOP aide bluntly described that scenario as "a nightmare."

Keep the pressure on!


New Council 5 Executive Director

President Judy Wahlberg and I want to announce that effective November 1, the Council 5 Executive Board has selected AFSCME Council 5 Assistant Director John Westmoreland to be the next Executive Director. John will transition beginning at the above date and take over full function by December 15, 2017.

In solidarity, Judy Wahlberg, President, Eliot Seide, Executive Director  


  Minnesota legislative update - what happens now?

A two-day mediation effort aimed at resolving the budget dispute between Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders ended abruptly Friday with no deal. Mediator Rick Solum said in a statement that talks were "at an impasse, the understandable views of the parties being irreconcilable."

For now, the court case heads back to the courts. The Minnesota Supreme Court specifically left the case open and they’ve asked the governor and Legislature to report back on the status of their mediation by Friday. Since the mediation didn’t exactly go well, the Supreme Court might have to make a more definitive ruling on the case. While they stated Dayton’s veto was constitutional, they also raised concerns about the ongoing operation of the Legislative branch.  

In filings last week, Dayton’s attorney Sam Hanson argued the courts should provide the Legislature with temporary, essential funding until the political issue is resolved, but the Legislature's attorney, Doug Kelley, argued only the Legislature has the power to order funding under the Constitution. Kelley argues the courts should affirm the lower court ruling that the veto is unconstitutional and void. The Supreme Court could also rule that legislators have time to figure out a solution during the next legislative session.





Calling all future Local 34 Stewards!! 

Are YOU interested in learning more about the grievance process? Would you like to become more involved in our local, while also acting as a resource for your peers? Become a Local 34 Steward! Stewards act as a union representative for members during investigatory meetings, grievance hearings and more. 

If you would like more information, please contact Senior Chief Steward Kenneth W. Garnier (South Regional Service Center) and/or Junior Chief Steward Brian Olson (Northwest Regional Service Center).  



AFSCME Organizing Days

 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.

AFSCME strong events are scheduled for 9/14 at the North Hub and TBD in November at the South Hub. 

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 will be in November, 2017

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

Upcoming Dates/Locations:  

  • November - South Hub

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.  

Member Action Team meeting: The next MAT (Member Action Team) meeting is 10/18. All are welcome. Contact Deb Konechne for more information.  

Steward Training: The next stewards’ training is scheduled for 10/9/17.


John Herzog - WEB Developer

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

Have a great day and thank you for visiting our union's website!