From the Desk of the President (December, 2006)

MSSA 2007 Delegates

Local 34 is a member organization of the Minnesota Social Services Association (MSSA).  We voted to renew our membership for 2007 in this organization.  Along with that membership is the allocation of seven delegates from our body.  We will hold an election for those seven (7) delegates at the December 6, 2006 GA.  Nominations and election will be held at the meeting.  You must be a dues paying member in good standing in order to run for these delegate positions.  If you are interested in putting your name forward and cannot attend the meeting, please contact me by no later than noon on that day, 12/6/06.  

Truth In Taxation County Board Public Hearing 

The Hennepin County Board will hold its annual public hearing for Truth-in-Taxation at 5:30pm on Thursday, December 7, 2006.  It will be held in the County Board Room on 24A in the Government Center.  Residents of Hennepin County have the opportunity to address the Commissioners at this meeting regarding their support, concerns, and issues with the maximum tax levy, which has been proposed by the Board.  You can sign up to address the Board that evening or by contacting the Clerk of the Board at 612-348-3081 or via e-mail, board.clerk@co.hennepin.mn.us, and your name will be added to the list.  We strongly encourage as many members as possible to attend this meeting to show the Commissioners our support for the maximum levy as that will provide some of the funding for the work that we do. 

County Budget Board Meeting

The final 2007 budget will be discussed and voted on at the County Board meeting on Tuesday, December 12, 2006.  This meeting will begin at 1:30pm.  It is at this meeting that the Commissioners will vote on the final maximum tax levy for 2007.  The Board approved a maximum of 5.5% increase from 2006 at their August 29th meeting.  AFSCME has been a presence a the Board meetings leading up to this one.  Since the Commissioners can vote to lower the maximum levy amount at this meeting, we need to continue that visible presence, sending the message that we are aware of the decisions being made which will impact our ability to continue providing the services to the residents of the Hennepin County.  Our Local has voted to approve lost time of up to four hours for up to 20 of our members to attend this meeting.  Please contact me to let me know if you can attend this Board meeting as one of our visible representatives.  As always, wear green!                                                                     

December 2006 GA        

Please note that we will hold the General Assembly on Wednesday, December 6th, in the 2nd Floor lunchroom of the Health Services Building instead of HSB 112 as originally planned.  Since we will have food at the meeting, the lunchroom will provide for better movement as well as accommodate more members than HSB 112.  Please make note of the change in the room and plan to attend this meeting.  We will also have door prizes a winner every 10 minutes.  With the elections of delegates, updates on the work accomplished in 2206 and the work facing us in 2007, this is the meeting to attend so put it on your calendar and bring a fellow member to be part of the process.  

Building for a Better Contract Campaign 2007

It is already that time of the year again when we begin to talk about the next contract.  Our preliminary discussions were kicked off with a meeting of the Hennepin County Policy Committee along with members of the 2005 Strike Committee and the 2005 Hennepin Action Team and other raring-to-go members from the various Hennepin County AFSCME locals on Monday, November 13th.   We talked about what worked, what we could have started earlier and one-on-one surveys.  Another meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, December 13, 2006, to continue the discussion and begin making plans for next year.  If you are interested in serving your fellow Local 34 members in any capacity such as on the Master Negotiations Committee, on an action team, strike committee, or communications committee, please let me know immediately.  We were successful with our last Contract Campaign because you, as members, were involved in the process.  We need that same commitment to make our next campaign even more successful.   

2007 Officer Elections

Joe Weston has been appointed as the Chair of the Elections Committee for 2007 officer elections.  He will work on a notice that will be sent to you in January 2007 regarding the nominations dates.  Please note that, per the changes made in our Constitution, voting will be handled via US mail so ballots will be mailed to you.  You might want to check to make sure that you have notified both the Employer and the Union of any changes in your mailing address as notice of nominations and ballots for elections will be sent to you at the most current address we have on file.  Questions on your address can be directed to me. 

2007 Council 5 events of note

Council 5 will hold a two-day Safety Conference on February 23-24, 2007 in the metro area.  As soon as we have more information about the content of the conference, it will be posted in the newsletter.  Also, the 2007 Day on the Hill legislative action event will be held the 1st Wednesday in March March 7, 2007.  Since it is extremely important for us to attend this event, our March 2007 General Assembly will be held on the 2nd Wednesday, March 14, 2007.   Please make note of this change on your calendar for next year. 

Elections

AFSCME was very successful in helping labor-friendly candidates get elected this past month.  We have two stars from our Local who helped in that effort Shannon Wesley and Vern Wagner.  They were on lost time from the County, working many nights and weekends as well as during the day to contact us to join them in the many activities to make this process the success that it was.  Please join me in thanking them for their efforts.  I had hoped to have a comprehensive list of the many members from our Local who participated in get-out-the-vote activities through the Council but, understandably, Jim Niland and his political staff from the Council are taking well-deserved vacations.  I will have those names for you with the next newsletter, as everyone who helped deserves recognition.  Also, please let me know if you served as an election judge that day.  Your services in affording citizens the ability to vote is important to all of us.   

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season!

Jean