From the Desk of the President (July, 2004)



Please note that we will hold delegate elections for two very important conventions at our July 7, 2004 General Assembly.  They are as follows:    

Special Council 14 Convention - Merger of Minnesota AFSCME Councils

Held Saturday, July 24, 2004 at the Ramada/Thunderbird Hotel, Bloomington MN, with registration beginning at 8:30 AM and convention convening at 9:30 AM.  The only topic of the convention will be to discuss and vote on the issue of merging the four Minnesota AFSCME Councils into one.  Local 34 is entitled to 40 delegates to represent us at this convention and will reimburse mileage/transportation to and from the convention.  

Minnesota AFL-CIO Convention

This convention will be held August 16 - 18, 2004 at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota.  The Local is entitled to 6 delegates (we have 7 total with the President an automatic delegate).  The Local will cover lost time for three days, $35.00 per diem for three days, lodging for two nights, mileage/transportation to and from Rochester, parking if incurred, and registration costs.  

If you have any questions about either convention or are interested in representing Local 34 at one or both conventions but cannot make it to the July 7, 2004 General Assembly, please contact me by no later than 12:00 noon of that day to put your name forward for the elections held at the GA.   

One-on-One Building for a Better Contract Survey - "Tall oaks from little acorns grow."

We held a second training for this initiative on Friday, May 21, 2004.  Many of the Local 34, 2822 and 2864 officers, stewards and point persons from the different worksites around the county attended this training to learn how to conduct this survey.  We received our surveys and divided them up, practiced conducting a survey, received some tips on how to ask and answer questions and, in general, prepared ourselves to begin seeking input from all of our bargaining unit members on how the budget cuts have affected us and our families, the clients we serve and our communities as well as what each of us is willing to do to change this.  You should note that Local 34, Local 2822 representing Clerical and Related and 2864, representing the Librarians and other Professionals, have agreed to conduct this survey jointly, so you may be contacted by a member of any of three locals.  If you have not been contacted for a on-on-one survey by the time you read this, please let me know so that we can make arrangements for this to happen.  Your input is not only valued, it is necessary for us to develop a comprehensive plan for our approach to the budget for 2005.  We continue to look for members willing to serve as a point person in your work areas.  If you think that this is something that you would like to do, give me a call, 348-0266.  

The 2005 Budget - "Time flies whether you're having fun or not."

Funding streams from state and federal sources were dramatically cut for the 2004 County budget.  That had a direct impact on our the budgets for all of Departments - reductions in FTE's, resources for services to our clients and the general overall morale of our workforce.  The 2005 budget is shaping up to be more of the same as both the state and federal budgets look to be running at deficits.  What is that going to mean to us?  What can we do to make the hurt a little less?  We need to be part of the budget process, beginning at our respective Department levels and going all the way up to the County Board budget committee meetings.  We, as a body, need to educate ourselves on the issues coming before the County Board and prepare ourselves to not only respond to the statements/plans from others but to also to present our ideas/goals/plans for a better 2005.   

AFSCME Green Opportunity - "If your ship hasn't come in - swim out to it!"

The 2005 budget has been a topic of discussion at the past few Hennepin County AFSCME Presidents meetings.  We don't have all the answers yet but we are working on finding a method for member involvement which will expand to AFSCME members in the Hennepin County - not only those of us who work here but those who live in Hennepin County and work for other entities.   The Executive Director of Council 14, Eliot Seide, will host a Special Planning Session of the nine AFSCME Locals on Thursday, July 8, 2004 from 12:00 noon - 2:00 PM, to brainstorm on how to become involved and to lay out a plan of action.  Members who like to cut their teeth on grassroots activism are being sought to be part of this session.  You do not need to be an officer or steward and previous experience is not required.  We are looking for enthusiasm and fresh ideas.  Please call me if you would like to participate.      

Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July celebration.