From the Desk of the President (August, 2016)



Congratulations Tamika!

New Local 34 Member-at-Large: Please join me in welcoming Tamika Hannah to the Local 34 Executive Board. She was elected to fill the Member-at-Large seat vacated by Brittany Bullock. Tamika was elected at the August 17th, 2016 Executive Board meeting and will begin in this new position effective September 1, 2016. Her term of office runs September 1, 2016 - April 30, 2018. She has been serving as one of our stewards prior to this new role. Tamika also has been very active in the AFSCME Strong trainings held around the county over the past year.

Condolences go out to the family of former Minnesota Governor Wendell Anderson who passed away July 17, 2016. When he was Governor, he signed the bill that established the Public Employment Labor Relations Act (PELRA) in 1973. This act gave state and local government employees the right to join a union and to bargain for our wages and bene-fits. We all owe him a huge thank you.

Feedback wanted: if you signed up for the voluntary vision benefit, please let me know our experience using the bene-fit. Since this is new to us this year, I am curious to hear from you about how everything has been working. Was it easy to use? Did you have any issues finding a provider? Are you satisfied with the quality of eye wear?

Wellness credits: have you registered with Redbrick Health yet so that you can document your wellness activities? If not, head on over to and get registered. You can then complete the health assessment and document your wellness activities so that you are eligible for the reduced co-pay in 2017. If your spouse is on your insurance, s/he will also need to register and document her/his activities and compete the assessment in order for you to earn the reduced co-pay. This needs to be completed by October 31, 2016. Please do not wait until the last minute as the system can get over-whelmed and you may miss out on the deadline.

Thank you for sending me to the 42nd Annual AFSCME Convention in Las Vegas. It was an experience - hot, hotter and hottest. The temperatures climbed up to 112 - 115 degrees while we were there so good air conditioning was very welcome. Ironically, the 114th anniversary of Willis Carrier designing the first modern air conditioner was July 17th while we were sweltering when outside. Thank you Mr. Carrier! The convention was non-stop action from registration on Saturday, July 16th, to the closing business on Friday, July 22nd. The theme, Never Quit, was indicative of the tone and tenor of our business conducted. We heard many stories of crap employers have tried to throw at members across the country from mandatory overtime to divide & conquer tactics. AFSCME members are on their game and thanks to the hard work of AFSCME Strong initiatives, members have been able to keep fighting.

For those of you have attended the past three or four conventions, there was contention as members voiced their concerns and dissatisfaction with how the convention was run. That was gone this year. This convention was about building our union, bringing everyone to the table, taking care of our internal business so that we can fight the battles facing us with anti-worker forces chomping at the bit to break us up. This was very much evident when a resolution to support the legalization of marijuana passed with no speakers against it. Discussion on resolutions was factual and cordial. I believe that this convention was a turning point for some of the growing pains that we have shared for the past years.

The other delegates - Brittany Bullock, Kathy Kelly, Paul Madison, Andrea Lazo-Rice and Grace Baltich along with our 1st Alternate, Linda Flykt, who attended this convention on her own time, were present for the daily business on the convention floor as well as the early morning workshops and caucuses. Your delegation rep-resented you well.

The highlight for me, as a Council 5 Resolutions Committee guru, was the fact that we addressed and handled every single resolution as part of our convention. We did not pass any of them on to the AFSCME International Executive Board as we have done every single convention in my memory. We, the delegates who were elected by our respective locals to do the business of the union actually DID the business of the union. That is an accomplishment!

Again, thank you. It was a wonderful convention and I was honored to represent you there.

In closing: a quote to celebrate Labor Day - "The end of labor is to gain leisure." - Aristotle

Enjoy a leisurely end of summer and Labor Day,