From the Desk of the President (March 2015)

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

March 4, 2015

General Assembly Happenings:  

Netroots Nation– we will elect up to two members to attend this event which will be held in Phoenix, AZ, July 16 -19, 2015.  

Nellie Stone Johnson Scholar-ship Dinner – we will elect to eight members to attend this event held the evening of March 26, 2015. This event is held at the Prom Center in Oakdale. The recipients of the scholarship are honored and there is a fabulous silent auction to raise funds for the scholarship. Please plan to attend that meeting to put your name forward or send me an email by no later than Tues-day, March 3, 2015 to express your interest in putting your name forward for either event.  

We will also work on finalizing our list of ideas to propose for the next contract. If you have not already submitted suggestions for changes to the con-tract, please send them to me by Tuesday, March 3, 2015. That will allow me time to com-pile everything that we have for a reading by the members who attend the March General Assembly. Having things in writing makes it much easier for everyone to follow along, as well as suggest changes. You are the best sources for new ideas.  

As noted in Vicki Moore’s Nominations report on the following page, we have the second and final round of nominations for our officer, trustee and delegate positions up this year. Please read her article to see which positions they are. If interested in putting your name forward for the elections, please contact her as soon as possible but be-fore the March 4th meeting.  

Vacation/PTO donations – you may receive a request from your coworkers to donate vacation/PTO to a coworker in need of time due to their illness or surgery or that of a family member where they have taken time to assist that family member and are now out of sick leave/vacation/PTO and facing unpaid time. Your donation is converted to pay for the person in need to cover that time. HSPHD has a link for people to use for those re-quests: https://dept.hennepin.us/hsphd/tr/SitePages/HSPHD%20Employee%20Requests%20for%20Vacation%20Donation.aspx. The names on the list are only those employees who have asked to have their names posted. If you know of a coworker who has asked for donations, please let them know about this venue so that they can utilize it.  

Also of interest to HSPHD staff is the new line in APEX for tracking our training time. We have often tried to quantify the number of hours we spend away from our work due to training but have never had a good tool to do so. I look forward to seeing the results within the next 4 – 6 months as we enter negotiations. The numbers should be illuminating. For more information, visit this link: https://dept.hennepin.us/hsphd/training/SitePages/Training%20Hours%20on%20Timesheet.aspx.  

Next Wave meetings – Kenneth W. Garnier and I attended the Council 5 Next Wave (group of young/new members – 35’ish or so – willing to address issues and learn how to become more involved in our union and communities) meeting held January 10th.  

We looked back at 2014 and discussed goals for 2015. We decided that we will share the responsibility for co-chairing the meetings with volunteers so Martin Hoerth from Local 844 and Kenneth W. Garnier from Local 34 will share that honor for the March 7th meeting. Any-one with suggestions for the agenda should contact them and they will send that agenda out a week or so prior to the meeting. Also, the tradition of asking locals to pro-vide the lunch continues. Local 34 members approved the expenditure of up to $200.00 for the March 7th meeting.  

The schedule for the remain-der of the year was set: March 7th, May 9th, July 11th, September 12th and November 14th. All meetings are held at the Council 5 office in South St Paul from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM. We all agreed to bring at least one other member to the next meeting so Kenneth and I are inviting you to attend with us.  

Just think, by this time next month, we will be looking for flowers poking their heads up through the snow, the days will be longer and we will have warmer temperatures outside. As Anne in in “Anne of Avonlea” said, “That is one good thing about this world...there are always sure to be more springs.”

Happy Spring! Jean