AFSCME Council 5 Convention Hi-lites

Stories: See in-depth coverage on Council 5’s website.

Videos: Highlights include:

  • Delegates pledging to fight for our union’s future.

  • Warnings from Wisconsin AFSCME officer Boyd McCamish about life without collective bargaining.

  • Speeches from Governor Mark Dayton, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, and Council 5 President Judy Wahlberg.

You can view the videos on Council 5’s You Tube channel.

Photos: For more than 150 pictures of members in action, see the photo album on Council 5’s Flickr site.

   President's Blog September

  Newsletter  September

Newsletter Editor

Summary of 2013 and 2014 Legislation to Support Working Families





Next Wave



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

36 Reasons We All Benefit From Unions


All work has dignity and deserves respect. 
We stand with fast food workers across America fighting for fair pay and fair schedules. Do you?

AFSCME History





Who Is Local 34

Local 34 Mission

Local 34 Lapel Pin

Local 34 Archives

Local 34 Election Results

Photo Gallery  

Workers level the playing field when they organize!


Screening Room

Union Songs

Stories of Labor Union History

Today in History

African American Labor History

Labor Day History


Local 34 Reimbursement form


Mileage Policy

2014 Seniority Report

  Family and Medical Leave Act Employee Guide (pdf)

  FMLA Basics

Disciplined for Being Sick  Know your rights

Non-Discrimination and Respectful Workplace Policy

102 things not to do if you really hate taxes and government

Negotiations 2013

Negotiations 2011

  Negotiations 2009

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 9/17/2014

"Our union is a testament to collective action and the triumph of WE over ME."

        It’s Never Too Early to Vote



September is Hispanic Heritage Month

  • The September issue of the Local 34 Banner is a milestone issue! The Executive Board has decided that beginning with the October 2014 issue, this newsletter will no longer be distributed in paper version to each individual member. Rather, about 200 copies will be printed - primarily for bulletin boards at our job sites. The PDF version will be made available to each of you through e-mail links via unit representatives. If you don’t have a mailed link for that issue by October 1st, please contact Jean Diederich, Local 34 President. You can also view all copies of our newsletters dating back to 2002 on this website.   

  • Movie Retells a Forgotten Fight! In 1939, a thousand Missouri sharecroppers – a rare alliance of black and white – walked off the land to take a stand against their desperate conditions and the legal loopholes that allowed land owners to cheat them. The documentary “Oh Freedom After While” retells the fight of these farm families and their Southern Tenant Farmers Union. Details: Labor Movie Night begins Friday September 19 at 6 p.m. in Room 356 of the Minneapolis Labor Center, 312 Central Ave., Mpls. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Snacks and beverages are available.

  • New Local 34 Chief Steward! Please join us in congratulating Tywanna Gray on her election at our last Local 34 Executive Board meeting to fill the Senior Chief Steward position.  She brings her years of service as a Local 34 steward and activist to her new role.  Tywanna and her co-Chief Steward, Kela Williams continue to address issues we face in the workplace. If you find yourself in the need for a steward to represent you, please note that you now contact both Tywanna and Kela. As Chief Stewards, they will then work with you to find a steward to represent you. 

  • Welcome Committee! Local 34 has a new Welcome Committee for new employees, composed of Stewards Tywanna Gray, Margo Blay Bugbee and Sheila Lipsco, and Member-at-Large Deborah Konechne. They work in conjunction with the EE&O Committee and the Membership Secretary, Heather Hemmer.

  • Budget & Finance Committee! The Budget & Finance Committee reported that meetings have commenced for the year, and the committee is diligently working to flesh out what a membership dues increase would look like, based on 2015 wages. A presentation of sample dues increases with discussion will be presented at the October General Membership meeting. The 2015 Local 34 budget recommendation is pending.  

  • Negotiations! Planning for contract negotiations will begin in 3/2015. The first negotiation session with the county is tentatively scheduled for 8/15/2015. 

  • Lateral Movement for HSRs! HSRs have an opportunity to change where they work if they want to. HSRs may complete a survey and request the work place of their choice (not required). An interview may be required for specialty positions.

  • Open Enrollment! Open enrollment for health care will be held in 11/2014.

  • Stewards Meeting! The next stewards meeting will be held on 10/29/2014.

  • Library Hosts Labor History Class! St. Paul Public Schools and the East Side Freedom Library are teaming up for a six-part community education class on the history of labor in Minnesota. The class is held on Thursdays, October 16 - November 20, from 6-8 p.m., at the library, 1105 Greenbrier St. Cost is $50. To register, call 651-767-8179.

  • Around the Clock, Around the State! Whatever the time, whatever the day, AFSCME members are on the job. Sometimes, we do work that everybody sees. More often, we do work that’s invisible. In a special photo essay, we sample and celebrate the incredible variety of work Council 5 members do to make life better, safer, and more enjoyable.

  • AFSCME Family Scholarship! Graduating high school students who are children and financially dependent grandchildren of full dues-paying AFSCME members may now apply for the AFSCME Family Scholarship. Download an application here. Application deadline is December 31.  

  • Education, Engagement, and Outreach! Our next AFSCME EEO meeting will be held on October 6, 5:30 - 7:30 pm at the Health Services Building, Room 110.  he agenda items include: Labor Lunch, Strikes, Workplace Issues and Organizing.

  • AFSCME Members Donate to Local Food Shelf! A heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to AFSCME’s food drive for Neighbors Inc. We raised $10,721.63 and collected 23 bags of groceries, far surpassing last year’s donations. Food shelf director John Kemp had tears tumbling down his cheeks. Our generosity will help him restock bare shelves. Neighbors Inc. assists more than 600 families each month in Inver Grove Heights, South St. Paul and West St. Paul. Our timely donations will help union members who are out of work after the Rainbow Foods sell off and the Dakota premium plant closure. 

  • Scholarship Winner! Council 5 scholarship winners were announced at Council 5’s Annual convention. Calista DePauw, daughter of our very own Local 34 member, Catherine Rinaldo, is a winner! Congrats to Calista from all of us in Local 34.

  • Five For The Fight! AFSCME Council 5 Convention delegates voted overwhelmingly Friday to increase Council5’s per capita rate by $5 a month beginning Jan 1, 2015. The “FIVE FOR THE FIGHT” increase is the first constitutional increase since 2005. An increase in the per capita payment does not automatically mean individual member dues will increase. Any dues increase would be handled on a local-by-local basis.

  • 2014-15 Labor Studies Skills Courses! These non-credit courses provide a foundation in "nuts & bolts" areas important to working people. Classes are open to all. Sessions are held on the West Bank of the University's Minneapolis campus. Local 34 will reimburse tution costs. If interested please contact Local 34 President, Jean Diederich.

  • Welcome Council 5’s Newest Members! Workers at Stepping Stones for Living in Hermantown voted by a 4-1 margin on September 3 to join AFSCME. The 173 new members work at group homes and a day program run by the private, for-profit company. They provide residential and support services for adults with traumatic brain injury or mental illness. The Stepping Stones workers are among the 1,065 members organized in Council 5 so far in 2014.

  • Speak Your Mind on Trade! The State of Minnesota’s Trade Policy Advisory Council is trying to find out Minnesotans' views on “free trade” agreements. We know that agreements like NAFTA send good-paying jobs overseas, put our environment at risk, and devastate communities. This is a chance to speak out that existing “free trade” policies don't work and that we need a new model. Take the survey. 

  • Director of Membership Services! The Minnesota Social Service Association (MSSA) is currently accepting applications for a Director of Membership Services. This position has primary responsibility for managing and implementing membership activities, services and databases to ensure a meaningful and positive membership experience for MSSA members.

September 13 marked the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) – the landmark legislation that was signed into law by President Clinton to provide more institutional resources for domestic violence victims.

“Decisions are being made every day in Washington, and if you are not part of those decisions, you might not like what they decide, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.”

Congress Prepares Stopgap Funding Bill to Prevent Government Shutdown: Congress has prepared a mostly non-controversial stopgap measure to keep the government from shutting down when funding for this fiscal year expires on September 30. This is necessary because Congress has not completed any of its 12 funding bills.  The so-called “continuing resolution” (CR) will fund programs at current levels through December 11 minus an across-the-board cut to comply with budget rules. We expect the stopgap measure will pass both the House and Senate next week, when Congress will adjourn to campaign before returning in November to finalize fiscal year 2015 funding and other pending legislative priorities.

Paycheck Fairness Act: After allowing the Paycheck Fairness Act to move forward last week, Senate Republicans turned around on Monday evening and unanimously voted to block the bill, which would ban salary secrecy and tighten rules to try to narrow the gender wage gap. The vote came weeks after the Republican National Committee claimed that “All Republicans support equal pay.” Senate Republicans have unanimously shot the bill down multiple times over the past four years. 

Citizens United: Although there has been little bipartisan support of bills that would limit the corporate fire-sale which has become the election process in America, recently not a single Senate Republican voted in favor of putting a check on unlimited money in politics by supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United...As the late Robin Williams once suggested, a more accurate representation of the political process would occur if candidates wore jerseys like Nascar drivers. They would be covered in patches that said, ‘Astra Zeneca’, or ‘Koch Brothers’, ‘Monsanto’ or ‘Lawyers R Us’ to represent the largest corporate contributions to members of Congress in the 2014 cycle.

College Debts Hold Back Economic Recovery - Need Assistance: Rising college debts are holding back recovery in the housing markets while housing costs converge with college debts to also hold back recovery for the broader U.S. and Minnesota economies. This drag on economic performance isn’t perfectly documented and analyzed yet. It is coming in bits and pieces. Yet an increasing body of financial house studies and analytical journalism finds linkages too strong to be ignored.

Affordable Care Act Saves Medicare Beneficiaries More Than $11.5 Billion on Prescription Drugs: As reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Affordable Care Act has helped 8.2 million seniors and people with disabilities keep more than $11.5 billion in their pocketbooks  by gradually closing the gap in coverage known as the donut hole. This gap required beneficiaries to pay the full cost of their medications. These savings would be lost if Congress adopted proposals to repeal the ACA or increase beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs.

Employee Empowerment Act: Two progressive champions - Representatives Keith Ellison and John Lewis - have launched a “dramatic counter-offensive” by introducing legislation to defend the right of workers to organize unions.1 The Employee Empowerment Act would protect workers from employer discrimination by making labor organizing a civil right. Now more than ever, we need to show solidarity with workers and fight for their right to organize for better wages and working conditions. Tell Congress: Protect our workers by voting for the Employee Empowerment Act. The Ellison-Lewis legislation would amend the National Labor Relations Act so that firing an employee “on the basis of seeking union membership” would be illegal -- just as it is now illegal to fire someone on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin. 

CNN Ordered To ‘Make Whole’ 300 Union Workers Fired 11 Years Ago: The National Labor Relations Board has ordered CNN to re-hire a hundred former union employees and pay compensation to 200 others to make all the workers whole after illegal anti-union actions eleven years ago. NABET-CWA called on CNN to immediately comply with the NLRB ruling. CNN is required to restore any collective bargaining work that was outsourced. CNN also must recognize the workers’ union locals and resume bargaining with them. The NLRB found that CNN had engaged in “widespread and egregious misconduct” and had demonstrated “a flagrant and general disregard for the employees’ fundamental rights.”  

No(r)Way: To sum up new research, the U.S. is way behind other countries when it comes to family leave policies. Norway, on the other hand, requires paid leave for moms and puts equal responsibilities on parents. That’s so insanely reasonable, it just might work.

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