From the Desk of the President (December, 2012)


MSSA - We received our annual agency membership renewal notice for MSSA (Minnesota Social Services Association). The members attending the 11/7/12 General Assembly voted to renew that membership. By having that agency membership, our local is able to send seven delegates as our Local 34 representatives. We will elect those seven delegates at the December 5, 2012 General Assembly. That meeting will held in HSB L15 (lower level/basement), 525 Portland Ave, Minneapolis. Please contact me if you would like more information or to put your name forward for that election.  

December General Assembly - this is our annual holiday meeting held in HSB L15. We provide food to sustain us while we recap the year and complete our 2012 business of the local. Please plan to attend the meeting. Bring your appetite and please bring an unwrapped toy and/or non-perishable food items for the locked out Crystal Sugar workers, our sisters and brothers of BGCTM. They are entering their 15th month of the lockout and are in need of our assistance. Any contributions will be greatly appreciated. If you are not able to attend the meeting but would like to help, you can drop toys or food off at my desk. I am located on HSB 9. January 2013 General Assembly will be held the 2nd Wednesday of the month instead of our traditional 1st Wednesday of the month. The reason for this is January 2, 2013 is the 1st Wednesday and so many folks will still be on vacation or just returning from vacation. The General Assembly will be held on following Wednesday, January 9, 2013 in HSB 110. Please make note of that change.  

Union bulletin boards - I shared this information with a number of you last month in an e-mail but feel that it bears repeating and should be sent to everyone in the local, so I am "repeating" it here. We had an issue of what should be posted on our union bulletin boards crop up at several work sites last month regarding the literature on the two constitutional amendments - some employees took offense and appropriately shared their concerns with their supervisors. The material was removed from the bulletin board based on a directive from Labor Relations. That issue has been resolved and we will continue to post our member education pieces as our union sees fit.

However, it did bring to light another concern - union "stuff" being posted on doors, walls and non-union bulletin boards. Our union information - posters, flyers, contracts, pictures, notices, etc. - should only be placed on our designated UNION bulletin boards. Of course, the only information that should be placed on those boards is our union stuff. The union bulletin board should be out of the public eye in "Employee Only" areas. If you do not have a designated bulletin board in your work area, we can make arrangements to get one. Keep in mind that we generally have one per floor in a work site if all employees have access to it. If you are one of the folks keeping track of our union bulletin boards, could you please let me know where you work, and where the bulletin board is, so that we know who to send paper copies of information to as well as making sure that you get adequate notice of deadlines for that information? Also, please review the "stuff" on the board - take down outdated information and notices so that it is useful to our members. If you ever have a question about whether or not something is appropriate for posting, please feel free to contact one of our Local 34 officers or stewards.  

Thank you - to all of you who worked on campaigns over the course of the year to get labor friendly candidates elected to office and to defeat the two proposed constitutional amendments in Minnesota. I know that some of you spent many hours every week doing phone banks, door knocks and literature drops—walking many miles or sitting many hours with a phone to your ear. Some of you provided food, some of you drove folks to and from meetings, some of you talked to your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors. Whatever you did - thank you. Your efforts helped Minnesota lead the nation in voter turnout and show the rest of the country that we do care about our fellow Minnesotans, that we were not going to buy into the efforts of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) - led by Mary Kiffmeyer here, and funded by folks such as the Koch brothers - to limit the right to vote or love. We showed that we want to move forward by electing state legislators who will get back to the business of running this state in a positive fashion - building up people who work for a living, helping our schools so that education is back on track, and listening to all of us—not just those with big bucks. Thanksgiving truly was a day to give many thanks this year!  

Last, but not least, I am hopeful that we will see a return to respect in the coming year. There has been such a lack of respectful discourse at all levels of government around this country and that has saddened me. I grew up in the 50's-60's-70's and, no matter how partisan politicians were, they treated each other and their constituents with respect. It was not a perfect world but it seemed to me that folks could walk away from a spirited discussion/debate and have a polite conversation afterwards. That has been lacking over the last few decades and it is time to return to civility and respect. If we, as a nation, are going to move forward and grow, we all need to be respectful. That is my only resolution for 2013—to remember to be respectful and thoughtful in what I say and do. If my actions and words do not reflect that goal, please call me on it.  

I have this at my desk and work hard at following it. Mychal's Prayer - "Lord, take me where you want me to go, let me meet who you want me to meet, tell me what you want me to say, and keep me out of your way." ~  Father Mychal F. Judge (AFSCME chaplain/Catholic priest who was killed on 9/11 when struck by falling debris while ministering to victims of that tragedy). 

Happy holidays! Jean