Contract Negotiations 2013

Contract vote tallied. Members voted to accept the contract so everyone will enjoy the 2.5% raise for both 2014 and 2015. 

Folks who are not at the top of the pay scale will have steps back for their reviews for both years.   

Health Care Savings Plan – both the proposal to create a HCSP for severance pay and the proposal to create a HCSP savings plan for paycheck by paycheck contributions while currently employed  did not pass.  

 

Contract Settlement Reached - Members Voted on Tuesday, December 10th!

The six AFSCME locals – 34, 552, 1719, 2822, 2864 and 2938  have reached a tentative agreement with the County. It has been a long haul but, because of all the cards that you signed, we were finally able to convince the Employer to get off trying to split us up – more seasoned employees against newer employees – for raises.The tentative agreement is for a two year contract covering 1/1/14 – 12/31/15. 

  • The Union's Table Team and the Master Negotiating Committee unanimously recommend that you vote to accept the proposed agreement. 

  • Voting will take place on December 10 at the following times and  locations. 

  • A paper copy of the tentative agreement will be sent out via U.S. mail to Local 34 members prior to the vote.

  • We will count the ballots on Wednesday, December 11, 2013. If the membership votes to accept the contract, it will then go to the County Board on December 17, 2013.

Click below to read a complete summary of the proposal.

Hennepin County and AFSCME Locals Full Tentative Agreement 11-19-2013

Learn more about establishing a Health Care Savings Plan

Free Health Cost Calculator (AARP)

 

Table Negotiations Team - AFSCME Local 34

Front row: Kela Williams, Wes Volkenant, Doug Graham. Back row: Laura Ross, Matt Nelson (Business Agent), Maggie Keating, Jean Diederich, Paul Madison.

 

Special thanks to the Table Team members, Master Team members, Heather Hemmer (Local 34 Chairperson of the Education, Engagement and Opportunity Committee and all the other AFSCME activists who participated in this process for all your hard work and dedication. Your activism has helped all the members of our local unions.

 

A Master Negotiations Committee meeting has been scheduled for 11/19/13. It  is the responsibility of the Master Negotiations Committee to review the tentative agreement and make a recommendation to the membership on whether to accept the agreement or reject and authorize a strike.

The contract vote will be held on Tuesday, 12/10, at times and sites which will be announced once we have that information.  

 

Over 2000 cards signed by Hennepin County workers in support of a raise for everyone the beginning of next year. We talked to our members on the 12th and 13th and this is the result.

And the Employer thinks our members don't care?

They were delivered to Commissioner Mike Opat, Chair of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners Thursday afternoon with an escort of green-clad members.

 

Ante Up, Hennepin Members Tell Board

“The issue here is fairness,” said Oscar Hampton, a child protection worker in Human Services Local 34.

Shawnice Reid, Human Services Local 34, listens to co-workers speak to county commissioners.

More than 75 Hennepin County workers in AFSCME packed the county board meeting and lined the hallways outside the room’s glass walls.

Janet Keefe, Halima Said, and Fatuma Kassim listen to co-workers speak to the county board. All are members of Human Services Local 34.

“For the first time ever, people are looking to leave – and that’s a change,” says Laura Ross, a Local 34 member who works in child protection.

More than 75 Hennepin County workers packed the county board meeting October 29, urging commissioners to reverse years of austerity and instead negotiate both general pay raises and step increases into their next contracts. Right now, county negotiators are offering six AFSCME locals step increases for 2014, but general wage increases only for workers at the top of their salary range. That proposal divides workers and is not going to fly, members told commissioners.

What can you do to support our negotiators?  

  • Remember to check in with Heather Hemmer, Chair of the Education, Engagement and Opportunity Committee to see what actions they have planned related to our contract campaign and help out with those actions. She can be reached at heatherh_87@yahoo.com.  

  • Wear "GREEN ALL WEEK"  - Out next  mediction session is set for November 14th.  

  • Click here to read the latest Table Talk from the October 21st session.

  • Contact the members of the AFSCME Local 34 Table Team to share your comments, concerns and suggestions: Jean Diederich, Douglas Graham,  Maggie (Margaret on e-mail) Keating, Paul Madison, Laura Ross, Wes Volkenant and Kela Williams.

 

Issues still in dispute as of 11/4/2013. First mediation session is set for 11/4/2013.

 

Hennepin County is proposing a two-year general across-the-board wage freeze for workers on steps. The county also rescinded a tentative agreement about the rights of limited-duration employees. That bad-faith bargaining is not acceptable! Click here to read the latest Table Talk from the October 21st session.

 

Health Care Savings Plan! The members attending the September and October General Assemblies held long discussions about setting up a Health Care Savings Plan option for both severance pay and as an ongoing contribution while currently employed by the County. The members voted to include both options on a ballot to be included with the ballot for our contract vote. Please read all the details elsewhere in the November newsletter – including what the ballot will look like. There are two issues to be considered. 1st - should all or part of our severance pay go into a Health Care Savings Plan when we leave the County and 2nd – should a portion of our wages by pay period go into a Health Care Savings Plan while currently employed by the County. Each ballot will have a Yes or No vote with an attached ballot with the options for each question. Regardless of voting yes or no, each member will also be asked to vote on an option as, if the majority of members vote to establish a Health Care Savings Plan, each member is entitled to have a vote on the option they most prefer.

 

What can you do to support our negotiators?  

  • Remember to check in with Heather Hemmer, Chair of the Education, Engagement and Opportunity Committee to see what actions they have planned related to our contract campaign and help out with those actions. She can be reached at heatherh_87@yahoo.com.  

  • Wear GREEN on the remaining negotiations days – October 21, November 4 and November 14.  

  • Talk to your coworkers about the contract.  

  • Contact the members of the Local 34 Table Team to share your comments, concerns and suggestions: Jean Diederich, Douglas Graham,  Maggie (Margaret on e-mail) Keating, Paul Madison, Laura Ross, Wes Volkenant and Kela Williams.

    Call your own commissioner  (Look them up if you need to). If you don’t live in Hennepin County, call the Hennepin County Board Chair, Mike Opat. Tell them to insruct their negotiators to bargain in good faith. 

 

At the Ocotber 9th General Membership meeting, the members voted to accept the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) relating to health insuracne. Negotiations will continue in an effort to resolve all other outstanding issues. Another negotiation session was held on Thursday, October 10. The next negotiation session is scheduled for Monday, October 21.  

 

Hennepin County workers step up pressure for fair contracts

Dignity!

Respect!

"If you can imagine it you can achieve it."

Solidarity!

Keep Fighting!

Minneapolis (9/30/2013): Social workers, child support staff, probation officers, librarians and numerous other employees of Hennepin County say they are fed up with contract offers that don’t reward their hard work.

At a rally Monday at the Hennepin County Government Center, members of AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said they are united in their call for higher wages and benefits. In recent years, county workers have endured wage freezes, higher premiums for health insurance and unpaid furloughs.

At the same time, workloads have gone up because staff is not being replaced. The county can treat its employees better, the workers said.

“Hennepin County is asking us to do more with less,” said Heather Hemmer, a child support worker and member of AFSCME Local 34. “We demand dignity, respect and a good contract.”

Workers and supporters chanted, “Hennepin County step it up! We are all fed up!” and “Who does the work? We do!”

The county’s current wage offer is 1.5 percent for employees at the top of the pay scale. The union is seeking 4.75 percent for all employees for the three years of the contract.

The AFSCME locals in Hennepin County are Local 34, social and health services; Local 552, probation and parole officers; Local 1719, adult corrections officers; Local 2822, clerical and related services; Local 2864, professional and librarians; Local 2938, legal and essential units.

The union plans further action at the Oct. 15th meeting of the Hennepin County Board, where workers plan to speak up about their contracts. The meeting will start at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, on the 24th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center. ~ Workday Minnesota

Additional photos from the rally

 

Video by the University of Minnesota Labor Education Service

 

 

Table Talk 9/18/2013 Read negotiation updates as of September 18th.

 

Health InsuranceTentative Agreement (Negotiation Update 9/21/2013): At the bargaining session between Hennepin County and the Union on September 12th, 2013 we were able to reach a tentative agreement with the County on health insurance for 2014 and 2015. There will be a change in the plan that is an improvement in employee costs.  

The tentative agreement freezes the premiums for 2014. There will be 3 options to choose from. The current health plan will have no changes except for a couple changes in the tiers and the cost in the current contract will apply if you choose this option. (Single health insurance is going to $75 in December, 2013 under the current contract.) All of the family rates will remain the same for 2014.  

The other two other options to choose from have a narrower network. There is a Health Partners/Park Nicollet option and a Fairview/Health East/North Memorial option. An employee choosing either option will have premiums reduced by 5% and 3 office visits at no cost. This reduction means single health insurance would be reduced to $41.86 (a savings of $33.14) Single + Spouse $313.82 (savings of $77.99) Single + child(ren) $240.34 (a savings of $59.66) and Family at $345.34 (a savings of $91.34).  

What option should I choose?  

If your provider in the narrow network refers you to a doctor/specialist outside of that network because the network does not have a doctor/specialist, you will pay the “in network” co-pay, costs, etc.

Members who are seeing specialists or who have ongoing issues where they need to see a specific provider should be careful to check to see if their provider is in one of the 2 networks who will be participating in this plan. If you choose the 2nd option with the narrow network, and you choose to see a provider outside of the network you choose, the care will be “out of network” which means that you must first pay a $500.00 deductible with the remaining costs for the care split with 70% paid by the insurance plan and 30% paid by the member.  

Please see Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). 

The Table Teams from Local 34, 552, 2822, 2864 and Legal Unit and Essential Unit of 2938 recommend the membership vote to accept this agreement. This is so the open enrollment can start as soon as possible for our members to consider the plan they wish to enroll in.

In order to reach agreement the County agreed to not drop employees from health insurance coverage in 2015 who work less than 30 hours. 

This MOU will be the first item of business at the 10/9/13 General Assembly for Local 34. That meeting is held at 5:30 PM  in Room 110, Health Services Building (HSB),  525 Portland Ave, Minneapolis MN 55415. You must be a member of the local  to vote on this MOU. If you are currently a Fair Share/fee payer,  you can sign a dues authorization card now to become a member.   

The effective date of the MOU will be 1/1/14. We would like our members to have as much time as possible to learn about the changes in the plan  in order to make an informed choice during open enrollment. ~ Jean Diederich, President, AFSCME Local 34

 

Updated copy of AFSCME Local 34's supplemental proposal (9/2013) to the employer - this document contains proposals that are unique to Local 34 members.

 

The Employer's initial proposal was presented to the AFSCME unions on August 22.

 

AFSCME’s initial proposal was presented to Hennepin County on August 12th.

Opening negotiation statement from AFSCME.

The rights and benefits we enjoy today are the result of decades of hard-fought struggle by the women and men who organized in the labor movement. Unions matter because employees understand their value and join together to make them work. Does our union matter? Unions matter only if employees believe that their voice matters and then only if employees make their union strong enough to have an impact. Certainly our history says YES, but let us all understand that few things are certain and it takes hard work and commitment to make good things happen. Only with continued support and involvement can we extend our history forward. It is our right to form a union. Once formed, it is our responsibility to make it strong enough to matter.  

If you are interested in getting involved and showing your support contact Heather Hemmer, Chairperson, AFSCME Education, Engagement and Outreach Committee (EEOC) by email or call Heather at 507-829-5905.

 

Schedule of negotiation meetings:  

Monday, August 12, 2013  - AFSCME gave our proposal to the Employer

Thursday August 22, 2013 - Employer presentede their initial proposal

Thursday September 12, 2013

Thursday October 10, 2013

Monday October 21, 2013

Monday November 4, 2013

Thursday November 14, 2013

 

AFSCME state employees have reached a tentative contract settlement. Employees will receive 3% and 3% pay raises for two years  + steps (state steps are roughly half of Hennepin County steps). 

The cost of single health insurance was set at  5% - in Hennepin County that cost would be $33.14/month. State employees pay 15% of family coverage - in Hennepin County that would translate to $207.00/month. Hennepin County families are currently paying over $430.00/month.

 

The rights and benefits we enjoy today are the result of decades of hard-fought struggle by the women and men who organized in the labor movement. Unions matter because employees understand their value and join together to make them work. Does our union matter? Unions matter only if employees believe that their voice matters and then only if employees make their union strong enough to have an impact. Certainly our history says YES, but let us all understand that few things are certain and it takes hard work and commitment to make good things happen. Only with continued support and involvement can we extend our history forward. It is our right to form a union. Once formed, it is our responsibility to make it strong enough to matter.  

Members of the Master Negotiations Committee for all of the Hennepin County AFSCME locals have been meeting for the past several months to develop a strategy for this round of bargaining, set up a system to share updated information with our members and bring it all together to craft a proposal for the Employer. The time commitment might not be long but the importance of the work the Master Team does is immeasurable.  

 

The Master Negotiations Committee is composed of representatives from the following six locals comprising approximately 4,000 members.

AFSCME Local 34 – Social Service Unit

AFSCME Local 552 - Probation and Parole Unit

AFSCME Local 1719 – Adult Corrections Facility Unit

AFSCME Local 2822 – Support Staff and Related Unit

AFSCME Local 2864 – Professional Unit

AFSCME Local 2938 – Legal Unit  

The Master Negotiations Committee wrapped up their work after a lengthy meeting on 6/24. The final contract proposal will be polished and readied for presentation to the Employer at our first Negotiations meeting on August 12th.  It has been agreed that AFSCME will present its proposal on August 12th, followed by the Employer’s proposal on August 22nd. Our goal, if it can be achievEd, will be to end negotiations no later than 11/14. 

Please join us in thanking the members of the Local 34 Master Negotiations Team: Angel Alexander, Doug-las Graham, Rhonda Griffin, Jodi Hammer, Dana Hanson, Heather Hemmer, John Herzog, Maggie Keating, Kathy Kelly, Kim Kurth, Paul Madison, Julie Miller, Vicki Moore, Jacquelin Poole, Kay Powell, Sheila Prok, Pat Regan, Laura Ross, Miguel Salazar, Rosemary Tomscha-Scholes, Wes Volkenant and Kela Williams.

Communications regarding the status and progression of negotiations will be by means of a "Table Talk". Electronic versions of the update will be posted on both the AFSCME Council 5 Website and the AFSCME Local 34 Website.  

 

"Table Team" members have been appointed to represent Local 34. Each local unit will appoint their own table team members. These representatives will be involved in the direct negotiations with the employer and are selected from the master team members.  Table team members are recommended by the President of the local and approved by the General Membership. Local 34 Table Team members are as follows:  Jean Diederich, Wes Volkenant, Kela Williams, Paul Madison, Laura Ross, Maggie Keating, Doug Graham.

 

Click Here to review a copy of Local 34’s current union contract. Our present contract expires 12/31/2013.

 

Field Representatives from AFSCME Council 5 who will be directly involved in the negotiation process represent the following local unions:

Matt Nelson (Local 34, Local 2938)

Mark Baker (Local 552, Local 2822)

Jeff Dains (Local 1719, Local 2864)