From the Desk of the President (February, 2016)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Vicki Moore, Nominations Chair, will take nominations for open Executive Board officer and Trustee position seats and Minneapolis & St Paul Regional Labor Federation delegates at both the February 3rd and March 2nd General Assembly meetings. You should have received your notice of the open seats via US mail on or near January 19th. If interested in putting your name forward for any of the open seats, please plan to attend the meetings or contact Vicki via email at victoria.moore@hennepin.us or her phone at 612-348-6051. Both meetings are held in Room 110 of the Health Services Building, 525 Portland Ave (corner of 6th St and Portland Ave) at 5:30 PM.

The Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Dinner is held Thurs-day, March 31, 2016 at the Prom Center in Oakdale. Local 34 has moved to purchase a table for eight to support the scholar-ship event and to send eight of our members to the event. The election for that event will be held at the March 3nd General Assembly.

It is that time of the year for your local political caucus. Locals 34, 552 and 2822 will hold a phone bank at the Minneapolis Labor Center at 5:30 PM on February 9th. The purpose of the phone bank will be to encourage members to attend their precinct caucus. By attending your precinct caucus, you are participating in the political process from the ground level. You can bring resolutions to be adopted by the caucus to be included in the platform of your party of choice. In previous years, we have asked members to bring resolutions to support our pensions, support funding for better transportation, etc. Minnesotans have a history of good turn-out which indicates our dedication to being part of the process. This year the precinct caucuses will be held on Tues-day, March 1st.

We have several job duty changes for our executive Board officers. Laura Ross, Andrea Lazo-Rice and Jacqueline Poole have been designated as the point people for Social Worker issues and concerns. If you are in a Social Work job class, they are the officers to contact.

Kenneth W. Garnier, Media Committee Chair, will serve as the acting newsletter editor until we find someone to fill that spot. Please send any articles, comments, etc., to Kenneth.

If you have not heard anything about the Friedrichs Supreme Court case, it would be because you have not watched the news or read a newspaper in the past month. In my humble opinion, after reading as much as I could about this lawsuit over the past six months, it seems to me that the premise of this case boils down to this: Rebecca Friedrichs feels that that all of the collective bargaining that her union does has a political basis as it implicates and directs public policy so all dues money is spent on political actions, therefore she feels she should not have to pay anything to her union as she does not agree with the direction her union took on an issue.

Again, in my humble opinion, the reality is that public policy determines our work and the funding for that work. Yes we, as individuals, do support candidates from whatever political party we choose and, yes, we ask them to support issues important to us. And yes we, as engaged and concerned citizens, ask that our respective school, city, state and federal representatives support funding for the programs and services we provide in order for us to better provide those programs and services to our communities. But our collective bargaining process does not involve politics. It is the nuts & bolts of our ability to improve our working conditions, our benefits and our wages. We have the right to achieve those goals and it is only by having the might (that would be all of us) of our collective union that we are able to do so successfully.

The outcome of the Supreme Court case will be interesting but it will not stop us from standing strong, from standing with each other, from being concerned about the work that we do and our community we serve.

Jean