From the Desk of the President (7/2005)


Health Insurance Update

The Labor/Management Health Care Committee is finishing up the wordsmithing the Request for Proposals (RFPs) that will be sent out to health insurance carriers by Benefits.  We have another meeting scheduled on June 29, 2005 to look over the final document to make sure it reflects our discussions about what the group wanted to have included as criteria for possible responses.  The group also has agreed that we would work on an RFP to be sent out to insurance carriers for a voluntary short term disability plan.  According to the County's consultant from Deloitte, the industry standard is that at least 45% of the Employer's risk pool would need to sign up for the plan in order for it to be viable.   

Negotiations update:

The Master Negotiations Committee has finalized the master contract proposal and will receive a copy of it at the Table Team training on June 22, 2005 to make sure that what we have on records reflects our decisions.  All locals need to get their supplemental proposals to their respective Business Agents by Monday, June 20, 2005, so that information can also be included in the proposal given to the Table Teams on the 22nd.  The Master Committee committed to having the final proposal ready by June 29, 2005.  It is to be posted on the Council 5 website, as well as the websites of those locals which have them.  The address for our website is  

Anita Selin, Clifford Robinson, Mary Kay Popko, Shannon Wesley and I will serve as your Table Team for contract negotiations this year.  The appointment of this group was approved by the June 15, 2005 Executive Board and will be brought to the July 6, 2005 General Assembly for acceptance.  We will have Table Team training with the Table team members from the other AFSCME locals on June 22, 2005.  Our first meeting with the Employer for negotiations will be on July 18, 2005.  That is the date when we officially present them with our contract proposal.   Hopefully, many of you will have attended the kick-off rally held earlier that day to show your support for everyone of the team as well as for yourselves.

The Action and Strike Committees still need members to become involved in the work to make this a successful endeavor.  Please contact me if you are interested in serving on either group.   

There is plenty of room for YOU to be part of this exciting adventure.   

Dignity & Respect Update:

We had our quarterly meeting of the Dignity & Respect Committee on June 9, 2005.  Reports were given by folks involved in the two pilot projects at the Library and Taxpayer Services.  They are at different steps in the process.  Both groups enjoy the full support of their respective Department heads which is a big plus. The Library is consulting with Deborah Anderson of Respond2, while Taxpayer Services has been using consultants from Human Resources.   

We discussed what our next step should be - wait for more updates from these two pilots, look at other areas where we could begin new projects....  We agreed that a sub-group comprised of our co-chairs, Karen Marquardt and Lynn Stetler, Don Sabre and I would attend the June 20, 2005 HSPHD Executive Team meeting to give a "pitch" for becoming involved in the process.  I really did put in a hard sell to this group about the need to look at different areas in the Department.  Syl Booth was very supportive of those remarks, noting that when you offer hope to folks, you need to follow through with a plan or you are selling employees short.  Joe Gaspard, Jim Ramnaraine, Bobbi Lane and I are on the Web Site sub-group for this committee and we will be meeting beginning next week to discuss what we want to put on the Intranet, where we think the information should go and what we want it to look like.   

Hennepin County Policy Committee:

The Hennepin County AFSCME Presidents have agreed that we should form an official Council 5  Hennepin County Policy Committee and ask for recognition of the committee by the Council 5 Executive Board.  The purpose of the committee is to provide a unifying and organized body to guide the Hennepin County AFSCME locals in developing policy and guidelines for those matters that are common to all of us.   We have been tasked with reading the constitution and by-laws of the State's Policy committee to see what we can use, what we think needs to be different and how to proceed.  Our next President's meeting is set for July 7, 2005.  If you have any ideas or suggestions, let me know before that date. 

Early Retirement Buy-out Incentive:

The County Board will discuss a buy-out incentive at their June 28, 2005 meeting.  If a plan is approved, it will be presented to us in time to discuss and vote at our July 6, 2005 GA on whether or not we would approve such an offering for our members.  Under state law, if such a plan is approved by the Board, the Employer would need to give the employees notice 45 days before a decision cut-off date.  Any plan would be announced via the County's e-mail system and, for those folks who do not have access to computers/e-mail, sent in paper form.  As soon as I have any information, I will get it out to everyone. 

July 20, 2005 Executive Board

This meeting has been canceled as the Executive Board will be in an all-day retreat on the following day, July 21, 2005.  Any emergent business of the Local can be dealt with on an as-needed basis by the Executive Board between the July and August General Assembly meetings as directed by our Constitution. 

Council 5 Convention

Here’s a brief notice that this Convention will be held October 6 - 8, 2005 in Duluth this year.  It will be the first convention after a full year of being a merged Council and there is much to report on about what has happened with the directives given to the Executive Board and Director.  Local 34 will have about 80 delegates allotted to us.  We will receive our official Convention Call in July so keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of election of delegates. 

That's enough for now.  Happy 4th of July - celebrate our freedoms,