From the Desk of the President (December, 2016)
– 2017: we renewed our membership with MSSA for 2017. Based on that
membership, Local 34 is entitled to 7 delegates to MSSA. We will elect those 7
delegates at the December 7, 2016 General Assembly. If you are interested in
serving as one of our delegates, plan to attend the meeting to put your name
forward for the election.
Holiday party at
the December 7, 2016 General Assembly. Please join as us as we share food and
talk about the past year and look forward to 2017. The meeting is held at 5:30
PM in HSB L14 & L15, the two rooms across from the elevators on the lower
level of HSB, 525 Portland Ave, Minneapolis. We do sign a lot of holiday cards
so make sure that your writing hand is well flexed.
Randy Johnson is stepping down from office as Commissioner of District 5 at
the end of this year. His final County Board meeting will be December 13, 2016
after serving on the County Board since January 1979. He has the distinction of
being the longest serving Commissioner since Hennepin County was founded in
1852. One of his quirkier claims to fame is his ability to find newspaper
articles from any day being recognized – retirements, anniversaries of special
events, etc. I am going to miss watching him pull those treasures out from his
folder to share with us at the Board meetings.
Johnson was instrumental in the creation of the accretion agreement we have in
place here at Hennepin County. That means that we can organize workers employed
by Hennepin County without fear of management interference that is experienced
in other agencies and in the private sector in the organizing process. He also
was a strong voice in keeping HCMC a quasi-public entity when the move was made
to make it more competitive with private hospitals. That enabled our fellow
AFSCME members in Locals 977 and 2474 retain their PERA status for their
Please join me in
thanking him for his many years of service to the residents of Hennepin County
and wish both he and his wife, Polly, many happy years of retirement.
to Council 5 Executive Director Eliot Seide for being awarded the Paul D.
Wellstone Award by the Minnesota DFL. The award honors Eliot for his lifetime
commitment to the labor movement. He has spent over 28 years organizing AFSCME
members around our country with stints in in Minnesota and New York before
finally coming back to Minnesota. He fine-tuned his skills serving with
President Jerry Wurf. Eliot is the embodiment of the “We all do better when we
all do better” standard from Paul Wellstone. Congratulations Eliot!!!
December 2016 Executive Board meeting date has been changed from Wednesday,
12/21/16, to Tuesday, 12/20/16. The meeting is held at the same time, 5:30 PM,
and in the same place, HSB 917.
Musings on the
2016 election – I am sure that many of you are just as glad to see the end
of all the political ads and commercials that abounded over the past year as I
am. Maybe I am getting old but I do not remember the vitriol of those political
communications being that bad in campaigns from past years. It is no wonder that
voters were turned off. I miss the respectful treatment that candidates afforded
each other even when they did not agree on things. I believe that it is time for
campaign finance law changes that would provide an equal playing field for
candidates who might otherwise not be able to financially compete.
Watching the news
about the various folks being considered for Cabinet and other top level
positions does give me cause for concern. If you read the background of people
whose names are being floated around, you can see that they have an extremely
conservative, anti-worker, anti-pension, anti-services leaning. It is going to
be a very interesting four years as we weather this administration.
That being said,
I have no intention of hunkering down and letting bad things happen to us. The
time for mourning was the day after the election. That was it. For me the time
to organize, plan, and fight back began the second day after the election. I
have no clue what this will entail in the next year other than that we have but
one direction to go and that is forward. It might be an inch by inch movement
for every action. That is okay as every single inch will count. By standing
together and moving forward we will be able to make sure all the hard work and
efforts we have put in to improving our communities will remain in place. It
will be work but that has never been something that we have been afraid to do.
Quite simply – WE DO NOT QUIT!
Benefit for AFSCME members and their families – if you have not already
checked this out, you might want to consider doing so at the following link:
http://freecollege.afscme.org/. There are currently four Associate Degrees
available – Associate of Arts, Associate of Criminal Justice, Associate of
Business Management and Associate in Early Childhood Education.
in light of the likelihood of threats to our pension through PERA, you might
want to consider becoming a member of PEPSA, Public Employees’ Pension Service
Association. This organization is devoted to watching any and all legislation
that would have an effect on our pension and how it is funded. You can join by
going to their web site, http://pepsa.org/. The dues can be withheld from your
paycheck via APEX by completing the form. The Fall 2016 newsletter link can also
be found at that site.
– it is that time of the year when many of us take time off to spend with our
families and friends. I have asked all of the officers and stewards for a list
of their days off for the coming month. That list will be available to all our
Local 34 officers, stewards and our Council 5 Field Representative, Michael
LaCoste, so, in case you need representation or have questions, you will be
referred to someone who is in the office rather than someone who is on vacation.
I am out of the office from December 17, 2016 through January 2, 2017. During my
absence, you can contact our two Vice Presidents, Laura Ross and Kathy
(Katherine on email) Kelly, for assistance.
Thank you for all
your efforts this past year to help keep our union strong and to help us
continue to grow. Happy Holidays!