People of Color Union Members (POCUM)


People of Color Union Members tell how their unions have enabled them to gain more equal rights on the job, higher wages, better benefits and a secure retirement. Video features several AFSCME union members.

Local 34 Organizing and Training Days

We still have organizing and training days that our union local members may participate in.  So far, we have held four organizing/training days and have gained great information and talked to hundreds of our coworkers and members. You may participate in one, or as many as you wish. Please RSVP for date that works for you. Remember, you will be paid your days wages by the union for participating. 

Here is the schedule for upcoming organizing days - please let me know which of these you would be interested/able to attend: 

  • May 11th- Brookdale

  • May 12th- Century Plaza

  • June 9th – Augsburg Library in Richfield

  • June 21st- HSB (tentative location)

Even though the Freiderich’s Decision at the Supreme Court did not pass recently due to a tie vote, the wealthy special interests have multiple other cases in lower courts, making their way to the Supreme Court, that could destroy our unions.  Also these same wealthy people and corporations continue to turn state after state into Wisconsin-style, “right to work” (for less) states one by one.  We need to build our strength to withstand these attacks on public sector workers and unions such as ours. 

Please consider attending one our Local 34 AFSCME organizing and training days and passing the info to your teams and fellow coworkers. You will get paid your day’s wages by the union as “Lost Time” and as a union member you have the right to take time for union activities. You merely notify or request from your supervisor in advance (if you typically do that) that you will be taking the day off (much like a vacation day).  

Lunch is provided and parking/mileage costs are also covered. I will send you details on how to get wages and parking paid once you RSVP that you will attend a date. RSVP is also important so we have lunch and materials to accommodate all.  

Many of you may have heard that as workers - especially those of us in the public sector - we are under attack. The attacks are coming from wealthy special interests and corporate interests that are deliberately trying to dismantle unions in our country. Cases are in waiting to be brought to the US Supreme Court that would jeopardize our ability to exercise our rights at work. These are deliberate attacks on public sector unions because our unions get us much better wages and benefits than non-union jobs. Much of our focus in the next months will be to connect with our coworkers and educate each other on what we are up against as workers and how we can defend our rights and strengthen our unions. 

Thank you so much for all you do to defend our union and serve our communities! 

In solidarity, Deb Konechne, Membership Secretary, Local 34




AFSCME walked out of a meeting with County Administrator David Hough and Labor Relations Director Kathy MeGarry after Local 2822 President Lynn Stetler read them the letter below. 

"We will stand in solidarity with our county attorneys who had their good faith contract settlement denied a vote by the county board. We will stand with our brothers & sisters in Locals 2822 and 34 who continue to be harassed for doing the work of the Union!"

March 16, 2016

Dear Mr. Hough

In the summer of 2015 there was an investigation in the Administrative Services Division of HSPHD. As a result of this investigation several supervisors and managers resigned from the county. Since that investigation concluded, we have become aware of acts of retaliation perpetrated on some of our members who provided information for the investigation. Retaliation would include but is not limited to frivolous investigations, harassment of union officers, denial of step increases, failure of some individuals to complete probation, and involuntary transfers.  

These actions run counter to the county’s policy of diversity and respect.  They ignore long-standing adherence to our collective bargaining agreements and are creating an atmosphere of unfair labor practices. Furthermore, whistle-blowing is a protected activity under federal law. We have raised our concerns to Human Resources, Labor Relations and the Assistant County Administrator of HSPHD to little avail. The harassment and disparate treatment continue. We want the unfair treatment of our members to stop. Further, we ask that investigations at the next layer of management begin immediately. Many of these current supervisors are modeling those same behaviors of those who resigned and no one is holding them accountable.  But our members who work under these supervisors are afraid to speak for fear of retaliation. They have witnessed what can happen when you speak out.  

Our sisters and brothers who work in the Public Safety Facility of local 2822 aren’t getting the differential that was bargained in negotiations. In fact, the employer claims that they misunderstood what they agreed to; despite the fact all issues brought to the table were discussed in detail and repetitively for multiple full day bargaining sessions before any tentative agreements were made. There is no grounds or excuses for the employer to renege on the agreement made during bargaining. To date employees are not being paid what the employer negotiated and grievances are filed.  

Our sisters and brothers who are COPE Coordinators in Local 34, the employer is also reneging on the agreed upon settlement that occurred during bargaining. The employer has repeatedly made agreements that they were well informed of and spent time collecting information on during bargaining however, now claim they didn’t understand. This is not the Union’s fault and our members will not suffer the employer refusing to implement the agreements that were mutually bargained.  

Our sisters and brothers working for the County Attorney have yet to see their negotiated agreement and subsequent raises due to continued missteps by the employer in bargaining. Including reaching a tentative agreement that the County Board is refusing to accept and implement. We bargained and behaved in good faith the employer should do the same.  

Our sisters and brothers who work in library have been notified that the employer’s new staffing strategy includes putting all 2822 job classes in the library on probation. Furthermore, the new staffing strategy proposes to implement an “Aide” job class proposed to earn $9.00/hour and they will no longer be represented by AFSCME. This is just 3 months after negotiating and implementing a $15.00/hour minimum wage for Hennepin County workers. The $15.00/hour was something both Union and the County board stated they were proud of. We are insulted.   

Our strong Stewards are being singled out by the employer. Stewards in both local 2822 and 34 have been interviewed by management per the direction of labor relations, to illegally discuss, direct and attempt to regulate steward activity. We are shocked at the behavior by the employer. We are insulted at the mistrust and abuse of our relationship that this union has worked so hard to maintain.  

Hennepin County has shown that it has bargained in bad faith repeatedly since settling the contract in 2015. We currently have members, activists and stewards who have raised issues and have suffered retaliation, loss in pay and repeated unfair treatment by numerous departments. 

The labor relations director made the statement that there has been an uptick in union activity. There has been no uptick in union activity, we have merely responded to the repeated and numerous attacks on our members, our wages, our working conditions and the disrespectful treatment by Hennepin County management. We have always valued the relationship between labor and management but it seems that value is not reciprocated. Don't forget, Hennepin County works because WE DO.  

As you are well aware, AFSCME has never backed away from a fight. We will do whatever it takes to see these changes be made. These attacks must stop. Front line supervisors and management need clear direction to immediately cease the targeting, the retaliation and the unfair treatment on our union activists and leaders.  

In Solidarity,  Lynn Stetler, 2822, Jean Diederich, 34, Cathy Brennan, 2864 , William Mondale, 2938 , Pat Guernsey, 552, Dale Blom, 1719



   AFSCME Local 34                   Updated 4/26/2016


Every day is Workers' Memorial Day

On April 28, AFSCME and the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who suffered and died on the job, and to renew the fight for safe workplaces. 

  • We will come together to call for good jobs in this country for all workers. 

  • We will fight to create good jobs in this country that are safe and healthy.

  • We will seek stronger safeguards to prevent injuries and save lives. 

  • We will stand for the right of all workers to raise job safety concerns without fear of retaliation, and for the freedom to form unions and speak out and bargain for respect and a better future. 

Please join us and make your voice heard!





Join the AFSCME contingent at the International Workers Day March on Friday, April 29th!!

Why I'm Marching April 29 2016



Local 34 News

Newsletter Editor Vacancy: We are still in need of replacement for Wes Volkenant. If you think that this is something you might be interested in, please let me know.  Keep  in mind that this a job that can be shared with another member. Contact Jean Diederich, Local 34 President, for more information.  

President's Blog, - April 2016.

Newsletter - there is no newsletter for April, 2016. 

General Membership meeting: May 4, 2016 General Assembly will be held in HSB Room L14/L15, HSB, 525 Portland Ave, Minneapolis MN at 5:30 PM.  This is our annual installation of officers and stewards meeting.  Food will be provided.

Convention: Delegates (5) to represent AFSCME Local 34 at AFSCME’s International Convention to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada 7/18/16 – 7/22/16 will be elected at the May 4 General Membership meeting held in the Health Services Building, Room L15/L14.  If you are interested in putting your name forward for this event and cannot attend the meeting, please contact Jean die4derich, Local 34 President with that request no later than 12:00 Noon on 5/4/16.

Conference: Local 34 members (2) will also be elected to attend the Netroots Nation Conference to be held in St. Louis, Missouri from July 14 – 17. The election will be held at the May 4 General Membership meeting in the Health Services Building, Room L15/L14. If you are interested in putting your name forward for this event and cannot attend the meeting, please contact Jean die4derich, Local 34 President with that request no later than 12:00 Noon on 5/4/16.

Chief Steward Update: Tywanna Gray will be taking a Leave of Absence from the position of Co-Chief Steward beginning 4/18. Mara Ssengendo will be filling in as Co-Chief Steward during this time. All steward related communications should be direc6ted to Kela Williams and Mara Ssengendo. If someone expresses interest in becoming a steward, he/she must be a full member for at least one year. Please have him/her contact the Chief Stewards. Please direct steward assistance requests and questions via e-mail only to both Chief Stewards and they will contact the member.  

PERA: One of the issues that has been on the table at the Capitol for the past few sessions is our pension - PERA. PERA has a new Executive Director, Doug Anderson. It is gratifying to read in the most recent issue of PERAgraph, the newsletter of the General Plan of PERA, that Mr. Anderson is a strong proponent of our current defined benefit plan. He states that he believes a defined benefit plan provides more benefits at a lesser cost because you have a larger investment return over a longer period of time. This is what our lobbyists from AFSCME have been saying for years as we work to maintain a plan that is sustainable and healthy. And this is one of the reasons why we hold Day on the Hill each year and why we must remain politically active.  


Racial Uplift in a Jim Crow Local: Black Union Organizing in Minneapolis Hotels in the 1930s: The East Side Freedom Library (1105 Greenbrier Street, St. Paul) invites you to a presentation by Luke Mielke, Macalester College Honors Student and Labor Activist. Learn about the courageous and creative efforts to local African American waiters during the Great Depression to unionize. They sought not only to achieve economic security but also to create the working conditions in which they would be treated with respect by employers and customers alike. For the past two years, Luke has dug relentlessly into newspapers, union records, and oral histories, not just locally but also in Detroit, New York, and Chicago. He has unearthed a great labor history story. Come hear it! May 5 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm - Free

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at the Government Center May 5: You're invited to celebrate Cinco De Mayo at the Government Center with musical group Trio Mexico. The event takes place Thursday, May 5, from noon to 1 p.m. on the Public Service Level. Learn how the Battle of Puebla, a victorious battle led by Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin over French forces on May 5, 1862, has become a celebrated holiday. The celebration is sponsored by Project Diversity's Latino/Hispanic Cultural Committee.  

Hennepin County AFSCME Union Social! Hosted by EEO, Education, Engagement, and Outreach - Friday, May 6 at 5;00 PM - El Nuevo Rodeo Restaurant - 2709 E Lake St, Minneapolis. Please share this post with your fellow workers!

 NALC Food Drive: The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive will be held on Saturday, May 14 – put food by your mailbox that morning. The NALC National Food Drive is the outgrowth of a tradition of community service exhibited repeatedly by members of the letter carriers union over the years. These carriers, who go into neighborhoods in every town six days a week, have always been involved when something needed to be done, whether it be collecting funds for a charity like the Muscular Dystrophy Association, watching over the elderly through the Carrier Alert program, assisting the American Red Cross during time of disaster, or rescuing victims of fires, crime, and other mishaps. For many years, a number of branches had collected food for the needy as part of their community service effort. The national, coordinated effort by the NALC to help fight hunger in America grew out of discussions in 1991 by a number of leaders at the time, including NALC President Vincent R. Sombrotto, AFL-CIO Community Services Director Joseph Velasquez and Postmaster General Anthony Frank. A pilot drive was held in 10 cities in October of 1991, and it proved so successful that work began immediately on making it a nationwide effort.  

Second Harvest Heartland - Stamp Out Hunger – Volunteer with us on Saturday, May 14, as we partner with the National Association of Letter Carriers and Cub Foods to orchestrate the nation's largest, single-day food drive: Stamp Out Hunger.

Other Events to Keep in Mind


May 5, 2016: Sixth Annual Labor Bowl at the Midway Pro Bowl, St Paul

May 14, 2016: NALC Stamp out Hunger food drive - leave a bag of groceries by your mailbox

May 20, 2016: "Blood Fruit", 6:00 PM, Room 356, United Labor Center, 312 Central Ave SE, Mpls. 

June 17, 2016: "Pride" shown at 6:00 PM at East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier St, St. Paul

July 15, 2016: "The Organizer", 6:00 PM, Room 356, United Labor Center, 312 Central Ave SE, Mpls. 

July 14 -17, 2016: Netroots Nation, St Louis, Missouri

July 18 - 22, 2016: AFSCME 42nd Annual International Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada

August 12 -14 & 19 - 21, 2016: Working Partnerships booth at the Game Fair near Anoka

August 19, 2016: "Matewan", 6:00 PM at East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier St, St Paul

August 21, 2016: AFSCME Family Picnic at Battle Creek Regional Park, Maplewood

August 25 - September 5, 2016:  AFSCME booth at the Minnesota State Fair

September 19, 2016: Working Partnerships Golf Tournament

September 22 - 24, 2016: AFSCME Council Convention in Bloomington

September 25 - 27, 2016: Minnesota AFL-CIO Convention in Duluth




Untold Stories Series  

“Worker Rights and Wrongs” is the theme of the 2016 Untold Stories series of labor history programs sponsored by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.

This year’s series kicks off with a program that looks beyond the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Friedrichs case. Other programs feature the author of “Reviving the Strike;” an examination of the future of Minnesota’s Iron Range and a history of Minnesotans persecuted for their political beliefs. Historians Dave Riehle and Peter Rachleff will lead a walking tour of St. Paul’s Payne Avenue. Programs are free and open to all. Read more for a complete listing. ~ Workday Minnesota

AFL-CIO leader Steve Hunter retires

Steve Hunter, secretary-treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO since 2001, has retired and will be honored at a celebration Friday, April 22.

A reception with appetizers and cash bar will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Radisson Minneapolis/St. Paul North, 2540 North Cleveland Ave., in Roseville.

In August 2001, Hunter succeeded Ray Waldron as secretary-treasurer when Waldron moved into the state labor federation’s top position. Hunter continued to serve as secretary-treasurer under Shar Knutson and, most recently, Bill McCarthy.

Hunter joined AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, in 1975 when, bachelor's degree in hand from the University of Minnesota, he started working as a graphic designer for the City of Minneapolis.

In the years that followed, he served in a number of elected positions within AFSCME and elsewhere in organized labor. He was president of Minneapolis Employees Local 9, president of AFSCME Council 14, an executive board member of the Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council, a Minnesota AFL-CIO vice-president and AFSCME's full-time political director in the state.

Hunter also served in a number of other roles, including regent of the University of Minnesota and officer of the Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition. He was a longtime member of the Advisory Committee of the University of Minnesota Labor Education Service, which publishes Workday Minnesota.

Retirement will allow Hunter more time with his family and to pursue one of his passions – watching Chicago Cubs baseball.


Registration open for Minnesota Union Leadership Program 

Organizations looking for ways to cultivate new leaders – or seeking to build the skills of existing leaders – may benefit from the Minnesota Union Leadership Program offered by the University of Minnesota Labor Education Service.

LES started MULP seven years ago to meet the needs of a changing labor movement. Facing new challenges, unions require leaders who understand the critical issues confronting workers – and are able to develop strategies to address them.

MULP offers this in-depth educational experience for emerging and established leaders. Participants are drawn from a diverse group of organizations, providing opportunities for exchanging ideas and networking.

Applications are being accepted for the cohort that begins classes this fall. The deadline to apply is June 20.

For more information and application materials, visit the LES website, call 612-624-5020, or e-mail the LES office. ~ Workday Minnesota

Labor Movie Night - Blood Fruit - May 20

Reminding us that the current employment difficulties faced by Dunnes Stores workers are not without precedent, Blood Fruit takes us back to 1984, the height of the apartheid regime in South Africa, when Mary Manning, a 21-year-old Dunnes Stores checkout girl, refused to sell Outspan grapefruits under direction from her union in support of the anti-apartheid struggle. She and ten other supporters were suspended and a strike ensued. 

United Labor Center, 

 312 Central Ave. SE

Third Friday of the month, 6:00 pm 

Room 356 or 467

Snacks, beer and soda will be available during the films. Donations appreciated!


application/pdf iconLabor Movie Night Full Calendar






We advocate for excellence in public services, dignity in the workplace, and opportunity and prosperity for all workers.

Established in April 1950, AFSCME Local 34 represents over 2000 Social Service employees of Hennepin County. As a member, you become a supporter in our efforts to maintain and improve working conditions for everyone. AFSCME will keep fighting for an America that works for all people.  

AFSCME women make up close to 60% of the union’s membership.

Workday Minnesota is a project of the Labor Education Service at the University of Minnesota. 

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


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