Well, the New Year is off and running.   The Presidents of the nine Hennepin County AFSCME Locals, along with our Business Agents, have met to discuss issues facing all of our members.  We have agreed that this year we will have a Steering Committee for our negotiations process.  The committee will be comprised of the President and a member of each Local and the Business Agents.  Kelley Leaf has been appointed to serve as the other member from Local 34.  We have our first meeting on February 26, 2003 to discuss strategic plans for negotiations. 

Chalmers Davis and I were involved in the Meet & Confer process for "leave time" or PTO.  Representatives from the nine Locals, our Business Agents, and Labor Relations and Management wrapped this process in our final meeting on January 15, 2003.  We spent time learning about paid time off or leave time and what plans have been implemented by various public entities in the metro area, how they arrived at their plans and the impact of those plans on the employees.  Our agreement at this final meeting was to work on a joint summation of our learning to be available to everyone.  We have not made any commitments about this issue.  Please join me in thanking Chalmers for his participation on this committee.

By now you should have received a notice in the mail regarding the nominations and elections of officers for Local 34.   This notice was sent to your home address via U.S. mail around January 9, 2003. If you did not receive the notice, please check with our Membership Secretary, Kelley Leaf, to see if we have your current address. 

We have 15 Executive Board officers elected on an annual basis. (Please read the official notice from Nominations Chair Pat Regan, on Page 10 of this newsletter.)  These officers are responsible for doing the work of the Local between General Assembly and Executive Board meetings.  They generally are the persons who carry out the work based on the decisions made at those monthly meetings.  Our Officers represent our members on a variety of committees via the Meet & Confer process with Management as well as backing up our stewards if needed.  These are the people you elect to represent you and the decision should not be made lightly.  Nominations to serve as an officer of the Local are open to any member who has been a dues-paying member for a full 12 months as of  February 2003.  If you are thinking about putting your name forward but are not sure what the duties of an office entail, I’ve provided a short summary, as listed in our Constitution, of each office (See below and page 3 of this newsletter). If you would like more information about the office, you can call me or the current officer who is listed after each description.

If you are interested in offering you services to the Local but do not feel ready to commit to serving as an officer, we have many committees looking for members.  But that is another article all in itself….