From the Desk of the President (June, 2013)



Trustees - Douglas Graham was elected to fill the one year Trustee position vacated by Katie Farber when she retired. Please join me in thanking Doug for stepping forward to fill this important position for our local. The folks who conduct the audit of our financial transactions need a keen eye and lots of patience as they scour all the pages of records when they conduct that audit. Both Doug and Paul Madison, our two year Trustee, attended the Financial Training for Locals at the Council 5 office this month so are now ready to hit the books!  

Reminder that the deadline for applications to the Minnesota Union Leadership Program is May 31st. Local 34 will cover the costs for this program for two of our members if they are accepted into the program. This is one of the agenda items for our June 19, 2013 Executive Board meeting.  

Contract vote on one issue only at the June 5, 2013 General Assembly - Clinical Nurse Specialists Wage Adjustment.

From the Employer: " As you know, for quite some time we have had concerns about our inability to attract and retain qualified Clinical Nursing Specialists... after careful consideration of the facts surrounding their claims ... have received authority to advance their pay so as to match the top rate of Hennepin's Nurse Practitioner job class.... this decision based on the language of Article 38, Section 5. (At the discretion of the EMPLOYER and in the event the EMPLOYER en-counters difficulty with respect to attraction and/or retention of qualified staff in a particular job classification, the parties by mutual agreement, may negotiate a modified salary schedule or other compensation matters for such classification.) What this means is a new annual top rate of $96,839 (currently $92,077) will be applied to the Clinical Nursing Specialist. This increase of $4,762 is equal to approximately 5.17%. All incumbents are currently at the top step. The increase will be retroactive to the first full payroll period in 2013." Since this a change to our con-tract, we will hold a special vote at the June 5th General Assembly to approve that change. Please be prepared to show your member ID to check in and receive a ballot for that vote.  

Master Negotiations Commit-tee - we have been meeting for the past few months and have agreed to a number of proposals for the contract. We have agreed that each Local will bring their final supple-mental proposal items to the next meeting on June 6th. That means that we will spend the first 1/2 hour of our General Assembly on June 5th to finalize our Local 34 supplemental issues. Please bring your suggestions to the meeting. If you need a paper copy of the con-tract, let me know and I will get one to you. Otherwise, our contract can be found at http://hennote1/intranet/publications/laborcontracts.nsf - we are Social Services. The Master Negotiations Committee will wrap up their work at the June 6th and June 24th meetings. After that, the final contract proposal will be polished and readied for presentation to the Employer at our first Negotiations meeting on August 12th.  

Health insurance - our self insured reserves continue to grow at a steady rate. I think that we can safely say that you - the employees - are helping to hold down the costs by watching the costs of the ser-vices you and your families use. I know that I am looking at the costs for services I need. When looking at doctors for my knee problems, I talked to folks who had al-ready gone through the various procedures to ask for their input which doctors they saw, how they felt about the facilities and the timeline and costs, etc. I found that the doctor most recommended for excellent results and wonderful follow-up was also the most cost effective. That is a win-win in my book as will have the procedure by some-one in whom I have confidence and costs will be contained. One thing that I need to point out is that I looked at the overall cost - from beginning of the procedure to the end. You may very well see a practitioner who charges more per visit, $300.00, but you only need to see them three times versus another practitioner who charges less, $250.00, but you need six visits. In the long run, the three visits end up being more cost effective. Please keep doing your homework. Costing less does not equal sub-standard services. We all deserve quality services.  

Retirement - update on continuing dental coverage through the union. There has been a change in this process. At such time as you are officially retired from Hennepin County, you will be contacted by mail with the information about enrolling in the dental program as a retiree. That was a change earlier this year. This is a good deal if you want to keep taking care of your teeth, as Medicare does not have a dental coverage plan.  

Health Care Savings Account for severance pay - Stephen Cook and Jacquelin Poole are the chairs of the ad hoc committee working on the education of the membership about what such a plan would entail. Please contact them if you are interested in serving on that committee.  

2013 Minnesota State Legislature - their "work" ended on May 20th I have to admit that I am very disappointed in the childish antics of some of the people who have been elected to represent us in both the House and the Senate. If you had the opportunity to go over to the Capitol or watch the proceedings on their live feed, you were able to observe adults acting like little children in a sandbox with the "If I don't get my way, I am not sharing any of my toys" attitude -- actions well beneath their job duties and the reason why the are there in the first place - to vote on issues important to the residents of Minnesota. My hope is that every last legislator takes a good look at their behavior before returning this fall. On the bright side, we did see legislation passed which gives child care providers and in-home care providers the right to vote on whether or not they will be in a union. Now the hard work for those groups will start as they meet with individual child care providers and in home care providers on a one-by-one basis to explain the benefits of a union.  

Congratulations to Local 3400, CCPT (Child Care Providers Together), on this positive result after all of your hard work over the past eight years!!!