From the Desk of the President (February, 2015)
you to everyone for understanding the need to reschedule our General Assembly
meeting from January 7th to the following Wednesday, January 14th because of the
bitter cold and wind chills on the 7th. The health and well-being of our members
was the primary concern of our Executive Board and the reason why we voted to
reschedule the meeting. As hardy Minnesotans we all understand the importance of
common sense and being home as early as possible that evening was the right
thing to do.
article is going to be a list of things to know so here we go:
If you work in HSB, you need to know that the 5th & 6th floors are being
completely gutted as they are revamped to serve as the Central Hub. There is no
access to the restrooms and all the meeting rooms will be gone. We are asked to
stay off those floors as they are now hard hat only areas. So, for your own
safety, please avoid those floors.
Beat the rush - get started on your 2016 health incentive wellness activities
now. Check out the current offerings at
http://www.hennepin.us/employees/wellness-activity-catalog/ - there is something
for everyone. One option that was utilized by many units was to have a wellness
activity at a unit meeting. Talk to your supervisor about this as it is really
is a nifty way to earn one of your wellness credits.
Wellness Center – those of us who sit on the Labor Management HealthCare
Committee had an opportunity to take a tour of the center. It is located on the
1st floor of the 701 Building on the corner of 7th Street and 4th Ave. I was
impressed with the space – lots of it compared to the former quarters in the
Government Center. There is a full pharmacy so, if you choose, you can get your
prescriptions filled there. You can transfer existing prescriptions from other
pharmacies too. You can make appointments to see a chiropractor or acupuncturist
on Thursdays. Check out their website at
http://hcmc.org/hennepincounty/Aboutthebewellclinic/index.htm for full details.
Grace Baltich, Kenneth W. Garnier,
John Herzog, Andrea Lazo-Rice, Lynn Lyons, Kay Powell, and Wes Volkenant were
elected at the January 14th General Assembly to fill our seven MSSA delegate
slots for 2015. Thank you to everyone who put their name forward to serve the
local in this capacity.
Retirements and dental coverage is a timely topic. I have already attended four
retirement parties in January and have two more on my calendar for this month so
am thinking that this is a good time to remind those of you who are planning to
retire that you have the ability to continue the union dental coverage when you
leave us for the land of retirement.
The current monthly premium cost is $51.00 and will cover you, your spouse and
any dependents. Once the County notifies the Council 5 office of your
retirement, the Council notifies Cielo Star, which handles the retiree benefits.
You will be sent an enrollment packet which you should complete immediately and
return if you wish to continue that coverage. There is no time limit on the
cover-age, so you can keep it in place for as long as you need it.
We have all seen a plethora of trainings coming at us and more are coming. Yes,
they are annoying and yes, they take time away from our work. And yes, you do
need to attend those trainings. For many of us, the work that we do correctly
results in dollars coming to the County to keep funding our jobs or, if the work
is not correct, it results in the loss of some of those dollars. The trainings
provided give us the tools and resources we need to help us to do our work
correctly. They also help us stay current on changes in the policies,
procedures, rules and regulations that govern that work. Staying on top of the
changes help all of us to be more effective. That being said, the time we spend
on training should be reflected in our workload. If you have ideas on what that
would look like, please share them with your supervisors, man-agers, coworkers
or me so that we can have that recognition that training does take away from our
ability to be at the 100% effectiveness level all of the time.
Opportunity to spend a day at the Capitol – Tim Adams, one of our Council 5
political staff, attended our January 14th General Assembly to introduce himself
to us. He talked about the work ahead of us for the 2015 legislative year and
asked us to spend a day at the Capitol visiting with our Senators and
Representatives to talk about issues of concern to us such as local government
aid, transportation, pensions, education, etc. He noted that issues affecting
workers across the state are important to all of us. If you are interested in
helping, please call Tim at 651-295-1677 and he will answer your questions and
set a date for you to help.
The new mileage rate for 2015 set by the IRS is 57.5 cents per mile. Please use
that figure when submitting any mileage expenses to our Treasurer, Patrick
Regan, for Local 34 events
The Council 5 Day on the Hill this year will be held on Tuesday, March 24th.
This event will be held at the Crowne Plaza in St Paul with a plenary session
and work-shops in the morning and lobbying at the Capitol in the afternoon. The
day is capped off with a reception in the evening. It is our opportunity to join
our fellow AFSCME neighbors in talking to our legislators about our concerns and
issues. A motion was passed to send up to 34 members with the local covering one
day lost time, mileage, parking and registration costs with the election to be
held at the February 4th General Assembly.
LES Minnesota Union Women’s Retreat will be held April 22 – 24, 2015 at
Ruttger’s Bay Lodge near Brainerd, MN. This event is geared towards mobilizing
women to improve their workplace, union and community. A motion was passed to
send up to 6 members to this event with the local covering 3 days lost time,
registration costs and mileage with the election to be held at the February 4th
Please plan to attend the meeting if you are interested in putting your name
forward for either of the above two elections. This gives you an opportunity to
let your fellow members know why you are interested in serving the local as a
delegate to the event and what you will bring back to our local as a result of
Netroots Nation will be held in Phoenix, Arizona July 16 -19, 2015. The central
topic for this year is immigration and social media’s ability to effect change
in the existing policies. A motion was passed to send up to 2 members with the
local covering 3 days lost time, 4 nights lodging, round-trip airfare and
registration costs with the dele-gates to be elected at the March 4th General
Assembly. Please plan to attend that meeting to put your name forward and to let
us know your plans for utilizing the experience and knowledge gained to help our
local continue our growth.
Month of Service – Keeping the Dream Alive. Martin Luther King Jr. was
assassinated in Memphis in 1968 after marching with our fellow AFSCME members,
the sanitation workers who were on strike as they fought to improve their lives
by improving their working conditions. To commemorate the sacrifices of the
sanitation workers and Dr. King, Council 5 is organizing a “month of
service” this spring. The goal is a unified, statewide effort showing how we
AF-SCME members improve lives in our communities when we are off the clock. The
plan is for members to take part in a volunteer or community service activity
where we work or live between March 25th and April 24th. We can do this with
coworkers, families and friends and may be some-thing that we are already doing
such as keeping our block clean, serving in a food kitchen, helping at your
child’s school, etc. We will discuss this at the February 4th General
Assembly. Please bring your suggestions for possible activities to the meeting.
As always, please contact me if you have any questions about the information
above. Our February 4th meeting is held in HSB 110, 525 Portland Ave in
Minneapolis at 5:30 PM.
– there you have it! The year is off and running so we probably should keep up
with it. Of course, we may be sloshing through some snow and ice but we will
keep on going. The nice thing about February is that it is only an-other month
til spring! Jean