From the Desk of the President (April, 2010)

ANNOUNCEMENT:

Local 34 will hold an election for delegates to the AFSCME International Convention at  our April 7, 2010 General Assembly.    The convention will be held in Boston , MA this year and will run from Sunday, June 27, 2010 to Friday, July 2, 2010.  We will fly out on Saturday, June 26 and come back on Saturday, July 3 in order to fully participate in all of the events for the convention.  Our local is entitled to 6 delegates.  The President is an automatic delegate so the election held at the General Assembly will be for five delegate positions.  

The local will cover the following costs for the convention: airfare from Minneapolis to Boston and back; transportation costs from your home to Minneapolis airport and Boston airport to hotel on 6/26/10; transportation costs from hotel in Boston to airport and from Minneapolis airport to your home on 7/3/10; 5 days lost time (6/28/10 - 7/2/10);  per diem of $71.00 each for Sunday, 6/27/10 - Friday, 7/2/10 and 3/4 that amount, $53.25, for each of the two travel days, Saturday, 6/26/10 and Saturday, 7/3/10 as mandated by IRS regulations; and 7 nights lodging - our hotel will be the Boston Back Bay Hilton.  

If you would like more information about this event, please contact me.  If you are unable to attend the 4/10/10 General assembly and would like to put your name forward for the delegate elections, please send me an e-mail indicating your interest by no later than 12:00 noon on Wednesday, 4/7/10.  

"Life is all about timing...the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable, attainable. Have the patience. Wait it out. It's all about timing."  Stacey Charter

By now you are aware that the health care bill was passed by both the House and Senate and signed into law by President Obama.  The struggle to address the issues of providing health care for all started long before many of us were born.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to get legislation passed to build on the gains of Social Security with no success.  President Richard Nixon tried to get pieces of legislation passed and those efforts were stymied by the members of his own party.  I clearly remember the efforts of President Bill Clinton's administration which were viciously stomped on by the Republican party.  All along the way, there have been campaigns of fear mongering fueled by the insurance industry and those folks who benefited financially from the rising costs of health care.  All that time, we have seen loved ones struggle as they coped with illnesses and life long conditions, many times wondering whether they could afford the doctor bill.  how many of our acquaintances have filed for bankruptcy due to the insurmountable medical bills?  We saw partisan politics at its worst played out over the course of the past year as President Obama's administration introduced his legislation and unfailingly continued to chart its course through the uphill battle in both houses.  Well, as the quote from Ms. Charter notes, it is all about patience and timing and that time has arrived!  We have a law that begins the resolution to many of the health care woes our country faces.  Whether you agree with the law as it exists now, keep in mind that it is just the starting point.  When you see something you think should be modified, contact your legislator to let her/him know.  Personally, I am thrilled to know that I will no longer worry about members of my family - home, work, community - not being able to access health care because they can't afford it.  I also look forward to seeing what impact this law will have on our ability to keep our health care costs down as we look at self insurance for Hennepin County .   

APEX:

According to an update from Rafe Viscasillas, Human Resources Director, they are continuing to make progress on the payroll problems we have experienced.   He stated that within the next two pay periods they hope to get the weekend/shift differential dealt with so that those of us who work on weekends or evenings under ROWE will not have to do the workaround for reporting our time.  Please continue to share your APEX issues with me.  It has been a wonderful method of identifying patterns so that they can be fixed.  

Computer-related disciplines:

We have seen an upswing in disciplinary actions based on computer use.  This is a loving, but firm, reminder to all - the computer is owned by the County.  Please refrain from using the computer for any purpose that violates the existing computer use policy.  You should not use it for a second business, you should not use it to visit inappropriate web sites and you should not use it to send material that might could be offensive in nature.  These are the most commonly cited reasons for discipline.  One of the comments I have heard time and time again is "But I was using the computer after my work hours.",   Again, it makes no difference when the action happened as the computer belongs to the County.  It is not there for your personal use.  Please help all of us - and yourself - by keeping that simple tenet in mind. 

Happy Spring!

Jean