From the Desk of the President (August, 2010)


Elections of delegates to two important conventions MN State AFL-CIO and AFSCME Council 5 will be held at the August 4, 2010 General Assembly.  Both conventions will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington , MN .  The State AFL-CIO convention will be held September 26-28, 2010.  The local will cover two days lost time and mileage for delegates attending that event.  The Council 5 Convention will be held September 30 October 2, 2010.  The local will cover two days lost time and mileage for the delegates attending this event.  The highlights of this convention will be the elections of our Council 5 Executive Board, as well as workshops on immigration, bullyism in the workplace and how to keep the Next Wave moving forward.   If you are interested in putting your name forward to be a delegate to either or both events, please let me know by no later than 12:00 noon on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 4, 2010.  If you would like more information about either event, I can be reached at 348-0266.

Due to the resignation of our Chief Steward, Clifford Robinson, who is looking forward to his retirement and travels with his wife, Kathy, we have a vacancy for the position.  The Local 34 Executive Board is charged, by terms of our Constitution, to hold an election to fill that position.  That election will be held at our August 18, 2010 Executive Board meeting.  If you are interested in getting information on the duties and responsibilities of Chief Steward or wish to put your name forward for that position, please contact me by no later than noon of that day.

Reflections on Cliff:

I started work with Hennepin County in 1980 and became active in our local shortly thereafter.  Over the course of the years, I will hear allusions to the work that Cliff had done when he was President of the local, the inroads he had made in employer-employee relations, the contracts he helped to craft, and the direction our local took after PELRA.  Presidents to follow in his footsteps Mike Freier, Lucy Olson, John Herzog and Audie Lussier would all invoke his work at one point or another, noting how they had gone to him for advice or counsel on issues we faced.  When I became President of our local, I knew that so much of the groundwork for keeping our local fresh, healthy and forward thinking had already been laid because of Cliff.  I also knew that we could not rest on his laurels we had to constantly nurture those laurels so that they could be passed forward to members following in our footsteps.  When Cliff agreed to run for Chief Steward again, it was wonderful news, as he brought his years of experience to the table.  His knowledge of our history, of when we began the Meet & Confer process, why career ladders were created, why language in our contract is just as pertinent today as it was when he was on the Table Team negotiating that language, has helped to build the bridge from the Baby Boomers to the Millennials.  He has served as a sounding board, as an ethics test, as an idea person for our many questions and concerns since he began employment in 1969 and all of us have been enriched by those years of service to our union.  I have enjoyed serving with him on our Local 34 Executive Board, as well as the Council 5 Executive Board and wish him many years of health and happiness with Kathy as they enter this next chapter of life called retirement.  Thank you Cliff you will be missed.

AFSCME Convention:

You have read the articles written by my fellow delegates at the convention.  I will add this comment: I was profoundly disappointed by the behavior of President McEntee as he very visibly showed his contempt for anyone who did not agree with him.  As a sister delegate from Pennsylvania (and a Lee Saunders supporter) told me, I never expected to be treated by the President of our union like this.  I thought that I would feel welcome and safe here, with my union.  Instead, I felt as if I was being bullied just like my employer tries to bully me at work.  This is truly a sad day for me.  She went on to comment that she never felt threatened by anyone supporting Danny Donohue and always felt welcomed by our Minnesota delegation and that she knows we, as AFSCME members, can work together as this is a bottoms up, not top down, organization.  Hopefully, our behavior will reflect well on the election for both President and Secretary-Treasurer at the 2012 convention in Los Angeles .   

Please remember to vote in the August 10, 2010 State Primary.  See the list of our endorsed candidates elsewhere in this newsletter.