From the Desk of the President (2/2007)


AFSCME Council 5 is holding a one and 1/2 day Health & Safety Conference Friday and Saturday, February 23 - 24, 2007, at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel. A motion was passed at the January 3rd GA to send up to 6 members paying lost time of up to 10 hours for Friday, 2/23/07 and mileage for both days. A continental breakfast will provided both days as well as lunch at the Friday session.   

The annual Day on the Hill sponsored by Minnesota AFSCME Councils 5 and 65 will be held on Wednesday, March 7, 2007 in St Paul. A motion was passed at the January 3rd GA to send up to 34 members paying lost time of up to 10 hours, mileage and a per diem of $30.00. A box lunch will be provided. The event will kick off at the St Paul Crowne Plaza Hotel (formerly known as the Radisson Kellogg), then move to the State Capitol for afternoon events and meetings with your legislators and will wrap up with an evening reception for members and legislators back at the hotel. This is our opportunity to present a sea of AFSCME green to those folks who were elected to office because of our efforts - phone banks, door knocks, lit drops, meetings - and to let them know about our issues and concerns. The theme of this year's event is "It's PEOPLE time. Changed Majorities - Changed Priorities!"   

The local also voted to sponsor a table for eight at the annual Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Dinner to be held March 29, 2007 at the Prom Center in Oakdale. There will be a social hour and silent auction beginning at 5:30 PM with dinner to follow. We voted to purchase four $50.00 gift certificates to local area union restaurants to donate to the silent auction held at the event to raise money for the scholarship.    

Delegates to all three of the above events will be elected at the February 7, 2007 GA which will be held in HSB 112 beginning at 5:15 PM. If you are not able to attend the meeting but would like to have your name included for the election, please let me know by no later than noon of that day - indicating which event you wish to attend. Your name will then be included in the nominations for the requested event.   

Change in General Assembly and Executive Board meeting dates or rooms:

Our GA meetings are traditionally held the 1st Wednesday of each month. This year we have two conflicts with that day so have made changes to hold the GA on the 2nd Wednesday. The March 2007 GA will be held on Wednesday, March 14th, in HSB 112 because Day on the Hill is held the week before, 3/7/07. The July 2007 GA will be held on Wednesday, July 11th in HSB 112. This is because the 4th is a holiday and we figured folks just might want to celebrate our freedoms rather than attend a meeting. I know that I will be picnicking with my family on that date and imagine many of you will be doing the same.   

Also, the Executive Board meeting room has changed for March 2007 forward. The meetings have changed from HSB 110 to HSB 917 by motion of the Executive Board. Please make sure to update your calendars with these changes. 

Notes of Interest:

You are going to be reading more in the coming newsletter about our 2007 Contract Campaign. The success of the 2005 campaign was due to member involvement and we are counting on increased member involvement for increased success this time around. Please think about what your strengths and gifts are and how you can utilize them in this year’s campaign to help all of us realize better wages, benefits, and working conditions.    

The Labor/Management Health Care Committee has set a task of discussing health insurance and permutations of our current health plan structure for the purposes of educating ourselves on what our structure is compared to other possibilities. For the past several contract cycles, the Employer has raised various questions about the existing structure and, I am sure, will do so again this year. Being educated is the best tool we have to address those questions and any proposals made. I am actually looking forward to having facts and figures instead of the nebulous “what ifs”. There will more to come on this subject as we get further into the process.      

Membership Secretary Position

The Executive Board tabled action on filling this position until the February 21, 2007 Executive Board meeting. If you are interested in putting your name forward for nomination or would like to know about the job duties for the position, please contact me at 612-348-0266. It truly is an exciting job and one that has a lasting impact on how we function as a visible and ever-evolving union. Please contact me by no later than 12:00 noon on Wednesday, 2/21/07, to put your name forward.