From the Desk of the President (January 2016)


As always, anytime that you are elected/selected to attend an event with the local covering your lost time, please notify your supervisor immediately with your request for union leave. This allows for any coverage issues to be addressed timely and demonstrates the respect we have for our coworkers. 

Karen Wallin, Labor Relations, sent this notice to our Local Presidents. I asked if I could share this in my article so that you would know this is a legitimate request when it is sent out to you: - HSPHD Emergency Preparedness Unit will be sending out a questionnaire to all HSPHD staff in early January. Information collected from the questionnaire will be used to help the department prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster. These data will be maintained in a newly designed staff data management system. Data privacy and system security will be maintained in accordance with all applicable state laws and county data practice rules and standards. Staff may note that some of the data that are requested are the same data in APEX. These questions were included in the questionnaire because personal APEX data is not always updated. Questionnaire data will be used to: 

Notify you during a Hennepin County emergency, Identify staff licenses and certifications, Identify different languages staff speak, Identify staff emergency preparedness trainings, exercises and response and recovery experiences; and, Assist in assigning staff to an emergency response/recovery team. Specific questions regarding the questionnaire may be directed to 

I am including the following from the Wellness Update as our health insurance is important to all of us: - 7866 people earned the 2016 Health Incentive. - Each year employees, retirees and spouses with PreferredOne insurance, both the standard and advantage plans, have the option of completing the steps to earn the health incentive. To earn the 2016 health incentive individuals earned two wellness credits and completed the health assessment. The health incentive for 2016 is$15 off of office visit co-pays. - This year 75.2% of those eligible earned the incentive. 

Check your health insurance card: New insurance cards will be mailed out in late-December. If you earned the 2016 health incentive, check to make sure your cards say “with incentive.” If the incentive information on your card is incorrect, contact HealthWorks at or 612348-4628. If other information on your card is incorrect, contact the HR Service Center at 612-3487855 or

2017 Incentive - start now! Employees can start completing their activities now to earn the 2017 health incentive. The 2017 health incentive is $15 off of office copays. Employees, spouses and retirees with Hennepin County health insurance have the option to earn the incentive by completing a health assessment and participating in HealthWorks-sponsored activities to earn two wellness credits. 

My 2016 resolution is to be kind to others. This past year has seen so much anger and hatred being spewed by people from all over our country and around the world for so many different reasons. This anger is directed at people who look different from us, who practice different religions from us, who speak a different language from us, who get up on the wrong side of the bed from us, who ________________ (fill in the blank) from us. These differences have been used by fearmongers to whip up hatred of those "others" - those different" people - asking that we blindly hate "them", blindly place all of "them" in a category of evil and blindly demand that "they" not be allowed in this country or have restrictions placed on "them" because someone who may look/act/ speak/etc., like them did something evil so "they" must all be the treated the same. This is wrong, just plain wrong. Going down that path leads to all of us losing our humanity. 

It has to stop with someone and someplace and I choose to have it stop with me and to have it stop here. I work with people who do not look like me, do not talk like me, do not dress like me, who do not practice the same religion as I do, who get up on a side of the bed that is different from me. Guess what? It still does not make me any less of me and it does not change me, my ability to work, my life. 

Instead, it enriches me and my life because we are different. I do not see my sisters & brothers who are Lutheran, Wiccan, Jewish, Muslim, Irish, English, Kenyan, older, younger, shorter, taller, redheads, blondes, 1st time voter, voter since 1940, outdoor enthusiast, book reader, football fan or curling fan, as being a threat to me. We all bring something special and unique to the table of life. So please, instead of echoing words of hatred and anger, be kind to each other. That way, we win. 

Thank you, Jean