From the Desk of the President (August/September, 2013)


ANNOUNCEMENTS: The local voted to send two members to the AFSCME Women's Conference held in Denver, Friday, September 20 - Sunday, September 22, 2013. The election for this event was held at the August 7 General Assembly. Elected were Sametta Hill and Sheila Lipsco.  

The Council 5 Convention is held in Duluth October 3-5, 2013. We will hold an election at the September 4, 2013 General Assembly to elect up to 34 members to at-tend as our delegates. The local will cover double occupancy housing for three nights (Wed - Fri) - note that if delegate chooses to have her/his own room, the dele-gate will pay for 1/2 the cost of the room as delegates will share rooms; lost time for two days; mileage to and from Duluth; and a per diem of $51.00 for 3.5 days (IRS rate). If you cannot attend the meeting on 9/4/13 at 5:30 PM in HSB 110 but wish to have your name included in the election, please send me an e-mail by no later than 12:00 noon on Tuesday, 9/3/13.  

THANK YOU!!!! "How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it." - George Elliston  

Thank you so much for the beautiful bouquet of flowers you sent to me when I came home from the hospital after my knee replacement surgery. It was such a delight to receive the bouquet - so many bright. bold colors! The flowers definitely brought welcome sunshine to those first few days when I was learning how to use my new knee. Things are going well - not quite up to dancing or running a marathon yet but I am walking better each day. The highlight of each physical therapy session is an increase in the amount that I can bend the knee while sitting. Sometime it is those little things in life that help us all to appreciate what we normally take for granted. Again, thank you. I really do appreciate being remembered by you.  

Fire drills, emergency procedures and persons needing assistance: One of our members brought a concern forward regarding personal safety during a fire drill or emergency procedure based on an coworker's disability. This was in light of an fire drill held when the affected employee did not see the emergency lights flash and, since the person is deaf, could not hear the announcement about the drill. In the normal course of events, this person sits in the same spot but, on that day, was working at a desk on a different part of the floor and was overlooked by the floor monitor.

I contacted Property Services to find out what the County's procedure is for employees with special needs - who should they notify of that need and what can each person do to make sure that their needs are met during an emergency. Michael Tupy, Workplace Safety and Environmental Division, provided a comprehensive response to my questions and I want to thank him for doing so. Please read his answers and check out the flyers as well as the intranet site for more details.  

Part I: Responding to Emergencies.

Each employee is responsible for their own safety and need to take appropriate measures during emergencies (e.g. fire, security threat, tornado warning, etc). Fire drills are coordinated by my work group, Security and Facilities Management throughout the year in the Government Center and annually in all county owned facilities. We have established a system of Floor Monitors that assist us with emergency response efforts and help get people evacuated. Floor monitor lists are maintained by my work group. We have targeted resources to facilities that we own or large leased sites and have reference material for smaller lease sites.  

Part II: Persons Needing Assistance

We created the following flyer for employees needing assistance - http://hennote1/ps/PSHCNet/PSHCNet.nsf/AttachmentLookup/ASHS-8RQS9X/$File/Getting+Assistance+with+Evacuation+flyer+-final.pdf. 

We also created a flyer for employees looking to help someone - http://hennote1/ps/PSHCNet/PSHCNet.nsf/AttachmentLookup/ASHS-8RQSAD/$File/Assisting+Others+with+Evacuation+flyer+-final.pdf 

The information has been communicated through multiple venues and is currently maintained on our intranet site - http://cantata/propsvcs/wsed/index.htm  

Part III: HSPHD Hubs and Satellite Locations

With a mobile workforce, we have to rely on each employee to know emergency procedures for their work location. Efforts have been undertaken to provide "Know Your Emergency Procedure" flyers for Hub locations. http://hennote1/ps/PSHCNet/PSHCNet.nsf/AttachmentLookup/ASHS-96UJMB/$File/NW+HUB+Emergency+Procedures+Assembly+Map.pdf  

This also becomes an HSPHD management issue about knowing who is and who is not at a work location. The good news is that Hubs will likely have a Security presence, so they can assist with real emergencies. Keep in mind that at times Security may also be directly involved in an issue and will not be there to help escort people to a location.

You can find more information at http://cantata/propsvcs/wsed/WSED_Components/Emergency_Procedures/emergency_procedures.htm.  

So, the most effective tool is for any of us with special needs is to find out who the floor monitor is where we work. Let that person know of your special needs.

Also, talk to your coworkers and ask them to check on you if there is a fire drill or emergency which necessitates vacating the work site. Having been a floor monitor, it is helpful to have this information up front instead of when we are actually in the middle of a situation. Please let me know of you have any questions about this.  

Finally, for all of you who had the opportunity to work with James Stevenson, steward with the Sentencing to Service Crewleaders and an STS Crewleader, who passed away last month, my condolences go out to you. James was a hard worker and a strong leader. His passing is a loss to all of us - both Local 34 and the County. My favorite memory of James was of a conversation several years ago when we were preparing our proposal for negotiations. I asked if there was anything special that he could think of for the Crewleaders. He looked at me, got that look on his face that he often had, and replied, "Anything that everyone will benefit from is all we need. We will be there if you need us." I will miss him but am happy that I got to know him. Farewell, brother James, farewell.