International worker's Day March

May 1st International Workers Day March in Saint Paul has been endorsed by AFSCME Local 34. This year we will march on Thursday, May 1 at 3:00 pm in Saint Paul. We’ll gather in front of the Governor’s Mansion and march to the State Capitol for a rally. We’ll send Governor Dayton and the State Legislature a message that immigrants in Minnesota need equal rights, starting with the ability to get a driver’s license. We’ll also stand up for a livable wage for all workers, for an end to deportations and the separation of immigrant families, and for immigration reform.  

We think it’s more important than ever to demonstrate the unity of workers of all races and nationalities, unionized and non-unionized workers, people of all genders, all united. Please RSVP and share the event on facebook to help spread the word.

President's Blog (April)

Newsletter  (April)

Newsletter Editor

Untold Stories Labor History series begins April 22. 

The 2014 Untold Stories series focuses on the struggles facing workers in the past – and how they influence the issues of today. This year’s theme is “Memory and Place.” All events are free and open to the public.

Member News (Updated 3/22)




  Outsourcing and Privatization are Killing America

Comedy – With a Message

 April’s Labor Movie Night features the comedy romp “9 to 5,” which has a lot more going for it than Dolly Parton’s award-winning song. “9 to 5” features Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin, who portray office workers who have had enough of their disgusting boss, played by Dabney Coleman. Details: Labor Movie Night begins at 6 p.m. Friday April 18 in Room 356 of the Minneapolis Labor Center, 312 Central Ave. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. Labor Movie Night is sponsored by AFSCME Locals 34, 1164, 2822, and 3800, and by Council 5 Next Wave. Snacks and beverages are available.


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






    AFSCME Local 34                                 Updated 4/18/2014


Great news for Minnesota families! 

The Women's Economic Security Act will be heard on the Senate floor next Wednesday morning. That means your Senator needs to hear from you. Click here to find out which Senator represents you, then ask them to VOTE YES on the Women's Economic Security Act so all Minnesotans will have equal opportunities to succeed. ~ AFSCME Council 5


The Autocomplete Truth


The 21st century has been hailed as the century of women. Yet a recent Google search shows just how much prejudice and discrimination towards women and gender equality persist. The Google search depicted in The Autocomplete Truth was conducted on 9 March 2013. We urge you to go ahead and try it -- what does your search show about gender stereotypes and the lack of equality for women's rights?

Listen first, talk never 

I don’t really know where to begin with this one. Talk show host Neal Boortz implied that women are “easily fooled and manipulated,” don’t want to be informed, and that equal pay is a “scam.” You're right, Neal - I don't want to be informed of sexist drivel like this. ~ MsRepresentation

Badass in chief 

The new mayor of Lice, Turkey, is the youngest mayor in the country’s history, and a woman. 25-year-old Rezan Zugurli was elected following her time as a political prisoner, possibly making her the most interesting mayor in the world? She doesn't always run for office, but when she does, she wins. ~ MsRepresentation

Women need to be paid less so they can find husbands

On Sunday, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) sought to advance the GOP’s rebranding effort among female voters by suggesting that Republicans have long “led the fight for women’s equality.” The statement came just days after Republicans voted down the Paycheck Fairness Act and sought to downplay the problem of equal pay for equal work by suggesting that Democrats were using the issue to distract from Obamacare. Now three days later, a prominent member of the Republican movement further undermined the party’s campaign to appeal to women voters by suggesting that the current pay gap isn’t wide enough. In an op-ed published by the Christian Post, Phyllis Schlafly — the founder of the Eagle Forum — maintained that increasing the pay gap will help women find suitable husbands. Read more


Pause for a moment and soak it up

When I was stocking shelves at minimum wage, I never could have imagined a day like yesterday. I stood in the Minnesota Capitol with my daughters as Governor Dayton signed a bill raising Minnesota's minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, indexed to inflation. As we campaigned to raise the minimum wage, we heard that same refrain over and over -- it's not possible, the minimum wage couldn’t be raised to $9.50 and it couldn’t be tied to inflation. But you and thousands of others like you refused to take no for an answer. You wouldn't quit. And that work, hand-in-hand with bold legislative champions and an incredible coalition of faith, labor, and community groups, made the impossible possible. We know we still have important work to do to help Minnesota families thrive, not just worry about surviving. Working families in Minnesota have been falling behind for decades - and even after this enormous victory, roughly a million Minnesotans still lack earned sick time, employer-sponsored retirement plans, or a living wage. But now we know that no matter how impossible any of that seems, we can get there. Together. Most of all, whatever you do today, pause for a moment and soak it up. More than 350,000 Minnesotans will get a raise they can count on in the coming years. Moms like me will have hundreds of dollars more a month to put food on their table and keep a roof over their childrens’ heads. That's something worth celebrating. Thank you, Jessica English

When women succeed, America succeeds

Kay Morrison is 90 years old. And in 1943, when she worked as a journeyman welder on the assembly line at Kaiser Shipyard #2 in Richmond, California, she earned the same wage as the man working the graveyard shift alongside her.

As Kay said, "it can be the same today." And yet, on average, full-time working women earn just 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. Earning equal pay starts with a conversation -- and that's why President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their pay.


Learning, inspiring, and transforming together

This year's Midwest School for Women Workers will be held at the Illini Union on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from Sunday, June 22 to Thursday, June 26, 2014. The school provides high-quality education in key leadership and representation skills along with opportunities for women workers to learn from one another and build solidarity. The theme this year is: Growing Our Power - Learning, Inspiring, and Transforming Together.

For almost 30 years, union Women’s Summer Schools across the United States have brought together women from all sectors of the labor movement to develop skills as activist union members and leaders, build sisterhood across unions and regions, make new friends, and try out new ideas. The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) coordinates the Summer Schools, which are hosted by labor educators and activists associated with different universities each year. The week-long, residential schools give participants the opportunity for real learning away from the day-to-day distractions of their busy activist lives. It also allows them to really get to know each other and work together, forging lasting relationships that ultimately build the power of the labor movement. In a time when many local, regional and international unions have fewer resources to devote to labor education and leadership development, the Women’s Summer Schools fill the gap for hundreds of union women each summer.

Bridging the gap

A new study by the National Partnership for Women and Families finds that if the wage gap were eliminated, women who work in California could buy 59 more weeks of food. Ohio’s working women could afford nine more months of mortgage and utilities payments. Working women in Georgia could afford 10 more months of rent. And women employed in Florida could afford 1,900-plus more gallons of gas. Click here for the National Partnership for Women and Families study that breaks down the wage gap by state and examines the even bigger wage gap in 20 states African American women and Latina workers face. Nationally, African American and Latina women are paid just 64 cents and just 54 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

Most Republican members of Congress are opposed to the Paycheck Fairness Act. In 2012, they blocked a vote in the Senate on the legislation. However, in a 2014 nationwide survey, 62% of likely voters said they supported the Paycheck Fairness Act—83% of Democrats, 58% of independents and 44% of Republicans. And the majority of GOP women (51%) support the bill.

Overseeing the largest expansion of health care in 50 years

Kathleen Sebelius is stepping down from her role as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Sebelius served at HHS for 5 years, working to help pass the Affordable Care Act and oversee its implementation through the first open enrollment period.

7.5 million: The (newly updated) number of private signups on the exchange during open enrollment, beating even the rosier predictions.

3 million: The number of young people who now have health insurance because they are able to stay on their parents’ health plans.

3 million: The number of new low-income adults and children who have enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

9.3 million: The net gain in the number of American adults with health insurance coverage from September 2013 to mid-March 2014, according to the most recent study.

This has been a landmark year for health reform advocates, as millions and millions got covered and the uninsured signed up in record numbers. These aren’t just numbers, but represent actual people who now have the peace of mind that comes with health insurance. But there is still work to be done to continue to strengthen law and fight back against those who want to go back to the way it was before. Twenty six million Americans remain uninsured. Many of these individuals reside in states that have not expanded their Medicaid programs to cover more of the working poor. ~ Thanks Kathleen

Women fast for families

More than 100 women leaders, including Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes, fasted for 48 hours this week on the National Mall to protest House GOP Speaker Boehner’s continuing refusal to hold a vote on comprehensive immigration reform.  “In fasting we hope to feed the courage of our elected leaders to pass immigration reform,” Reyes said.  “We want to show our solidarity with immigrant families who are torn apart by deportation.  We must continue to pressure lawmakers to fix our broken immigration system.”

On Wednesday, the Fast for Families buses that have crisscrossed the country for the past several weeks – stopping in almost 100 congressional districts – arrived at the Mall and joined the women fasters at a large rally.  The speakers movingly told how deportations have separated spouses and parents from their children.  Religious leaders spoke of the moral imperative of a more humane immigration system.  Then, led by the women fasters, hundreds marched to the offices of Speaker Boehner and GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and demanded a vote.  

Women’s economic security act 

After nearly four hours of debate Wednesday, and one day after the legislature recognized National Pay Equity Day, the House passed the so-called “Women’s Economic Security Act”, a package of proposals aimed at reducing the pay gap, expanding protections for women in the workplace and encouraging women to enter non-traditional, higher-paying jobs, on a 106-24 vote. Also known as WESA, one of many things the bill would provide are ways to bring women into higher wage, higher-impact careers, or jobs that are dubbed “traditionally male.” “This is about economic security for working families and lifting women out of poverty,” said Representative Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing), who sponsors the bill in the House. “This bill will strengthen the workplace for all workers.” The measure is expected to be taken up on the Senate floor after the break.

Note: In Minnesota, the median annual salary for white males in 2012 was $51,615. For white women, the median salary dropped to $41,124; for African American women, $31,958; form American Indian women, $32,054; Asian American women, $38,225; Latino women, $29,434; for immigrant and refugee women in the U.S. from six to 10 years, $30,000; and for women with a disability, $31,800.

Workers’ actions bring change to Walmart 

When workers at Walmart began mobilizing to make changes at the world’s biggest employer—one with the deserved reputation of disrespecting its workers and slapping down any attempt by workers to influence workplace policies—most folks’ initial reaction was “well, good luck with that.”

But it wasn’t good luck that brought about some recent workplace changes at Walmart. It was the hard work and the mobilization of Walmart workers and community supporters across the nation in Our Walmart campaign to bring the company’s abusive policies and treatment of workers into the spotlight.

Now, not only has Walmart made changes in the way it treats pregnant workers, but it has made important changes to its scheduling policy that will allow workers to get more access to the hours they need to support their families. Read more

Moms want work, but they're faced with a crap economy

According to a new Pew study, more American moms are staying at home with the kids — but not out of choice. These moms aren't avoiding the workplace because they are wealthy and can afford to do so, but because they can't find a job in an economy which is no longer working for most of us.

For decades, fewer American moms stayed at home. The number reached its lowest point in 1999, when about 23 percent of moms did not have paying jobs. But since then, the number has been rising. Remember the recession of 2000? That killed a lot of work opportunities for moms, as did the economic catastrophe of 2007-'08. The number of moms staying at home is now up to 29 percent.

D'Vera Cohn of the Pew Research Center found that moms were responding to the economy, not some desire to return to the 1950s: "There's a big link between what the economy is doing and women's decisions about working or not." Read more


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