From the Desk of the President (December, 2014)
5 is hosting a Social Media Workshop on Friday, January 23, 2015. The training
is open to members interested in learning to harness the power of social media
to strengthen and empower our union. The afternoon will be comprised of a 1-hour
presentation followed by an interactive, hands-on workshop in the computer lab.
Local 34 will send up to 2 members covering 4 hours lost time and mileage with
attendees to be elected at the January 7,
General Assembly. We ask that those of our members who attend the training
commit to using the skills gained to help build our membership internally as
well as prepare and carry out our messages/activities for the 2015 negotiations
process. If this is some-thing that interests you or you have questions, please
call me at 348-0266.
General Assembly: please plan to attend this meeting and enjoy the company of
your fellow Local 34 members as celebrate another year of union activities.
Food will be provided thanks to the efforts of Andrea Lazo-Rice who, with the
help of a few folks, orders & picks up the food, then sets and has the food
ready for us. We are asking members to bring a book or sturdy toy to the
meeting. All contributions brought to the meeting will be used in the family
visit rooms in HSB and Brookdale. The toys there have been well used, and are in
need of replacement. This is one of our efforts to contribute to our community.
increase results: Members attending the Local 34 General Assembly meeting on
November 5, 2014 heard the 2nd reading of the proposed amendment to our
Constitution to increase the dues from 1.0% to 1.5% effective January 1, 2015. A
motion was moved and seconded to approve that change. After some discussion, an
amendment of 1.25% was made, seconded and, after further discussion, passed.
That amended the proposal to 1.25% which, after even further discussion, was
approved by the members in attendance.
will be an increase in our dues effective 1/1/15 from 1.0 % of gross wages to
1.25% of gross wages. I would like to thank everyone who shared their comments
and concerns with all of the officers and stewards over the past month. Members
who attended the meeting came to address those concerns and everyone who was
there was able to weigh in on the issue. Thank you to the Budget & Finance
Committee, headed by Angel Alexander, for tackling this tough issue and bringing
forward proposed language.
Member-at-Large: Sharon Streeter has been elected to fill the vacant
Member-at-Large position. Her term of office begins on December 1, 2014. Please
join me in welcoming her to the Executive Board as well as thanking her for
being willing to step up to serve all of Local 34. Sharon is a Senior Human
Services Representative and is currently located at Century Plaza.
Take a Break
sessions: Thank you to the Local 34 Action & Education Committee for holding
the two sessions to date – one at the NW Hub and one at Century Plaza - with
information about your Weingarten Rights. Both sessions were held over the lunch
hour with officers and stewards present to talk to members about this important
right as an employee. More sessions are planned for other work sites – check
with Tywanna Gray or Deb Konechne for that information. This is the beginning of
a series of lunch time “Take a Break” meetings to share information and
answer questions that you might have about the union.
story: I was asked by a few members about the MNSURE workers being told that
they had to use vacation/PTO to offset time for a day when the state’s
computer system, Curam, was not available on Wednesday, 11/12/14. They were sent
an email in the afternoon on Friday, 11/14/14, letting them know that they would
need to do this, as they logged in less than 5 cases on that day. Keep in mind
that these are not experienced workers, so their ability to work a case
correctly, was of great concern to them. After a series of emails to the
supervisor and managers over two days, we received an acknowledgement from Labor
Relations that they would all have their 8 hours of time for 11/12/14 recorded
as “REG” pay.
with this entire situation was that workers were never told that they had to
work “X” number of cases in order to get paid. All of us more experienced
workers know that we can spend all day working on one or two cases when they
have a degree of difficulty to them. I am happy that the end result was that
everyone received their 8 hours of pay. And I am even happier that several
workers were brave enough to question the directive, and then call the union to
see if that was appropriate. Thank you for placing your trust in us.
Elections: Thank you to all of our members who spent time this past year working
on campaigns for the candidate of their choice. Many of you worked hard to get
labor-friendly candidates elected. I was disappointed to see some of our friends
such as Mary Sawatzky from 17B and Will Morgan from 56B lost their races as they
worked hard for us over the past two years. We are lucky to have Governor Dayton
reelected. He stated he is committed to making transportation one of the top
issues for the 2015 session. Whether you live in the metro area or greater
Minnesota, you know that our roads and bridges are sadly in need of repairs.
Even with all of the road construction in place, we have not had enough funds to
adequately address keeping our infrastructure up-to-date. Seeing Steve Simon
elected as our new Secretary of State gives me hope that Minnesota will preserve
our tradition of voter fairness. And all of us can thank our lucky stars that Al
Franken remains our Senator so he can continue to work on net neutrality and we
can continue to have affordable computer access. That being said, we have to do
better the next time around. We have to knock down the proposition that
corporations are equal to people like you and me when it comes to campaign
finance rules. Start thinking about what you can do in 2016, as it begins now.
This has been
posted on our Local 34 web site as well as on our Facebook page.
December 2: Truth-in-Taxation Public Hearing—6PM
December 11: Budget Amendments, 9:30—12 and 1—3:30
December 16: County Board Approves 2015 Budget and Levy at the County Board
And if you
think that our presence is not needed at the budget meetings, please watch the
video from the HSPHD Budget presentation: http://hennepinmn.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=10&clip_id=2334
One of our Commissioners questioned the need for more staff. After years of
being under-staffed and overworked, our workers deserve better. It was a public
hearing so I had the opportunity to respond on behalf of all of you who have
worked so hard to make sure that services have been provided and our clients are
safe. The work that we do provides a strong safety net for the residents of
Hennepin County in need of our services. This is our work and we do it well but
we need more staff to help us.
Holidays to all of you. That wonderful snowy surprise in November has set the
tone for winter. I am hopeful that any white stuff sent to us in December is
light and fluffy so it is easy to shovel.