From the Desk of the President (May, 2007)

ANNOUNCEMENTS!

We will hold elections at the May 2, 2007 General Assembly for delegates to attend the following union events: Midwest School for Women Workers being held at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa the week of July 29 - August 2, 2007; International Labour Conference held June 22 - 24, 2007 in Biwabik, MN and AFSCME International Union Leadership Conference being held in Washington, DC, June 18 - 20, 2007. All three events will be wonderful learning experiences for our members and an opportunity for the participants to bring back a wealth of information to enrich our local. We do have the expectation that anyone elected to attend the events will attend all sessions of the event and commit to participating in related events at the Local or Council level afterwards. This is especially true for the Leadership Conference as members who go there should be some of our chief point persons for political activity in the coming year. Please plan to attend the May 2nd General Assembly to put your name forward for elections or, if you cannot attend the meeting, contact me by no later than noon of that day to indicate your interest. 

Food – yes a magic word. We will have food at the May 2nd General Assembly to celebrate the new terms of our elected officers. Please join your sisters and brothers to observe the swearing in of officers for their May 2007 – April 2008 term. 

And speaking of food, our sisters and brothers from the NALC – National Association of Letter Carriers – is conducting their 15th Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on Saturday, May 12, 2007. Since its inception in 1993, this food drive has collected over three-quarters of a billion pounds of food for community food banks and pantries around the country. This year you will find a blue plastic grocery bag in your mailbox along with a reminder post card. Please fill it with nonperishable items and leave it by your mailbox the night before or early morning of Saturday, May 12th and your letter carrier will pick it up to be added to all the other contributions in your area. All the food collected will go directly to local food shelves to help members of your community. Help the U.S. Postal Service Stamp Out Hunger!   

2008 – 2009 Contract Campaign progress

As noted in the General Assembly highlights, members who attend the March and April meetings spent time discussing items that we would like to see addressed in the upcoming negotiations process. The next step is for the Local’s Master Negotiations Team to meet with the teams from the other five AFSCME locals - 552, 1719, 2822, 2864 and 2938 – to combine our respective lists to come up with our main proposal. We will have a series of meetings over the course of May and early June to flesh compare and contrast our ideas, find out which one are common to all of us and which ones are unique to a Local. The next step will be to fine-tune the list to craft our final document. There is still room for you to be a part of our Local’s team. Please call me at 348-0266 if you would like to participate. 

Also, this is that time of the year when all standing committees are reviewed for appointment or reappointment of committee members. Those committees are: Budget & Finance; Constitution; Dental Trust; Good & Welfare; Health & Safety; Investment; Master Negotiations Team; Newsletter/Web Site; and PEOPLE. All committees are open to all dues paying members interested in participating. If you think that you might be interested in one of the committees or would like information about the work and time commitment of a committee, please contact me. 

Health Care

This topic continues to be one of the major items of concern to our members around Council 5 – regardless of the type of work done of the employer. Based on the concerns expressed by our members, the Council 5 Executive Board voted to bring Michael Scandrett, an expert on health care and legislative lobbying around that issue, on board as a strategic advisor in our efforts to support universal health care. Mr. Scandrett’s role will be to work with our Executive Director, Eliot Seide, in advising us on the following points of concern:  1) universal access to health care; 2) indigent care for our acute care facilities (HCMC, Regions and Fairview); 3) mental health issues; and 4) development of a task force for a state-wide pool for local government employees. He will work with Council 5 to schedule a Health Care Conference on these issues as well as others that affect all of us.    

In ending, I would like to share this quote from Dorothy Fields - "No matter where I run, I meet myself there.”

It just seems so apropos of all the work we do – we are always here for each other.

Looking for those May flowers after the April showers!!

Jean