FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT (JANUARY, 2003)
beginning of the year is traditionally a time to reflect on
the past year and make plans for the new year.
As I reflect on the past year, I cannot help but
think of the loss of several good labor friends to Local 34.
was one of my union mentors who taught me how to be
proactively involved in the both the Union and my job.
He remained one of my "check it out" folks
long after he left our ranks to become a supervisor and I
will miss his words of wisdom and wit.
The loss of Senator Paul
Wellstone was not only felt
here but across the country as he truly was a man for those
who had no voice, a person who knew what labor is about and
one of our best friends in politics.
year saw massive changes in the way many of you are doing
your work. Financial
have become Human Service Representatives as the Adults,
Elderly and Disabled, and Families Divisions converted to
the new HSR Design, forming new teams and revamping client
workers in Child
their Redesign as cases were transferred and new work groups
formed in order to
provide better service to clients.
Children, Family and Adult Services saw changes with
the advent of the Matrix
are finding that these changes not only affect those workers
directly involved in doing the work but also other workers
throughout the County who need information about those cases
in order to do their jobs.
This will be an ongoing lesson in community as many
of us learn just how much interaction there truly is in the
work that we do. Perhaps
this will also be an opportunity for improvement as it is
this interaction with not only members of our local but
other locals which has shown the need for us to sit down and
talk about how the work we do and how we are viewed by
Management has an affect on the global membership.
We have joint Meet & Confers in Economic
Assistance and Children, Family and Adult Services. This should probably expand to other
areas such as Corrections so that those concerns that are
common to all locals can be addressed jointly.
unity there is strength!
going to be one of the major topics of discussion this year.
In the bi-monthly Presidents' meeting with County
Administrator, Sandy Vargas, Ms. Vargas gave us the most
recent information that she had on the situation.
The State's budget is funded 40% from income taxes
and 40% from sales taxes and, since the economy has been
slow, that source of income will be slow and this will have
a direct impact on the ability of the Legislature to address
the budget shortfall. The County is addressing the
by continuing to hold higher vacancy rates, looking at
contracted services, reviewing travel costs and holding down
furniture/equipments costs as a beginning.
Ms. Vargas did not sugar coat the fact that we will
all see the fallout from the cuts in state and federal aid.
I appreciated her candor although I wish the news had
not been so grim.
what do I see as goals for Local 34 in the coming year?
One thing that I would like to see happen is the
development of an Officer Manual listing datelines and
deadlines for our work.
The importance of this was brought to our attention
as we realized that most of what we do is handed down orally
so that we may not always meet those deadlines.
The benefit of having such a written document is that
the work of the Local could always continue to be done
timely in the absence of an officer without having to
scramble to determine what that work is.
Another goal would be to get our Local's office in
order. We have
boxes of papers spanning the past 20 some years of our
history that needs to be sorted through.
Some of it can be tossed but most of those papers
contain our history and should be bound so that we have it
for future members' reference.
We need to work at identifying our issues for the
Anyone who is interested in serving on the Master
Negotiations Committee is welcome.
Please give me a call or send me an e-mail to
indicate your interest.
Our goal is to have as wide a variety of job class
representation as possible on the committee so that we can
have a quality product for presentation to our sisters and
brothers of the other Locals.
Let me know what you see for the coming year.
I welcome your comments.