From the Desk of the President (1/2004)
quote James Clarke, "A
politician thinks of the next election, a statesman of the
suffered in our contract because we had too many
politicians, at every level of the spectrum, who voted on
bills and referendums based on their next election.
Very few of them voted with the thought of what the
consequences of their actions would be on the next
generation, or, if they did think of them, were, in my
humble opinion, rather selfish.
Those results, in the form of federal and state
funding for the many programs supported by tax dollars, have
trickled down to the County level.
that means to us is that we
did not get the cost of living adjustment that we are
used to receiving, in our contract for 2004 - 2005.
What it means is that some of our co-workers have
received their layoff notices for 2004, and more may receive
them in 2005. What
it means is that some of our most vulnerable clients
may go without the services that have been the stop gap
between maintaining a life and not functioning.
What it means is that our
jobs will be harder as we face our clients and tell them
that they will need to pay more from an already barely
sustenance-level budget for their medications, so that they
have to choose between a roof over their heads or being
any of this give you cause to feel angry - pissed off -
upset? It does me.
So, what are you willing to do about it?
can sit on seats, whining and crying about the unfairness of
it all or we can do something positive about it - address
your anger and frustrations towards those folks who are
truly responsible for the morass
we face - those folks who were elected to create a realistic
budget for our country, our states, our counties, and our
cities - the politicians.
should I care? Think
about the contract we just settled.
Did you like it?
Many of us chose to vote for it because it was the
about as good as we could get in light of the fact that we
had not prepared ourselves for a strike - we had not
adequately positioned ourselves to flex our muscle - that
muscle being all of us, united, behind a cause.
It is going to take hard work and it will most likely
take us two years to build the base needed to effectively
show the Employer - and the politicians - that we mean
effort will take all of us - not just the officers and
stewards of this Local - to make this work.
You are going to be called on to participate to help
candidates win their races because, as we have seen, the
folks who get out there and are successful in getting their
candidates elected are the ones who reap the benefits.
Last time around, it was big business.
If it is ever going to be our turn, we, every last
one of us, need to put our shoulder to wheel.
does this start? By
the union going to be involved in this process?
You bet! We
have already begun the process with a meeting on December
18, 2003, of the Presidents and union activists from the
Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis and U of M AFSCME
Locals to get information about mobilizing our membership
for the caucuses next year.
More news will follow in coming newsletters and
flyers about your opportunities to participate in this
organizing process - internally and externally.
power is yours
- in the hand used to page through written materials or
computer information about
the candidates running for offices, in the hand raised
to support the
candidate of your choice at the political caucuses, in
the hand used to distribute
literature for that candidate, in the hand used to dial
phone numbers to solicit support for that her or him,
and, ultimately, in the hand
used to cast a vote on election day.