From the Desk of the President (May, 2010)


Announcements:  Midwest School for Women Workers -  This event will be held at the U campus this year. A motion was passed at the April 7th GA to elect up to 10 members to attend this event which will be held July 28 - August 1, 2010. The local will cover two days lost time, registration costs, mileage to and from your home to the U of M for 5 days, and parking. The event kicks off with an opening session from 7:00 - 8:30 PM on Wednesday, July 28th.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday have workshops, and Sunday ends the event with a closing plenary session from 9:00 AM - Noon. Meals are included in the cost of registration, beginning with dinner on July 28th and ending with lunch on Sunday, August 1st. The theme for this year's school is "Taking a stand in tough economic times" and will address the challenges women in unions face as they respond to the economic crisis while organizing, bargaining and mobilizing to improve the standard of living for all working families. If you’re interested in putting your name forward for this event and are not able to attend the May 5th GA, please e-mail me no later than Noon that day. Here is the link for viewing the event’s schedule:

APEX:  For those of you who have not felt comfortable with the workaround on your timecard for hours worked on evenings and weekends under ROWE, the fix is in!  You should now be able to report hours accurately without having to worry about the weekend or shift differential. This applies to those of us who are choose to work those hours. So, if you work on a Saturday or Sunday, you can put your regular hours on those days on the time card. You can then select "INELIGWKD - Ineligible for DFWKD" in User Field 1, 2, 3, or 4 on the same row as the weekend hours which will stop any differential pay. This is a huge step in the right direction for us - being able to correctly report when we worked.

Minneapolis Marathon :  The marathon will be held on Sunday, June 26, 2010. AFSCME Council 5 is staffing the Mile 25 water station - the first one as the runners head out and the last one as they hit the final stretch of their run. You can sign up for one (or both) of two shifts: 7:00 - 11:00 AM and 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Volunteers will receive AFSCME t-shirts. Even more importantly, you will receive the gratitude of the runners as they grab water from your hand. I can guarantee that you will have a wonderful time with fellow AFSCME members from different locals around the Council setting up the water station and encouraging the runners. You can sign up at; click on Calendar > Council 5 events > Minneapolis Marathon. Please register by Friday, May 14, 2010.  

International Convention:  Sabrina Denson, Heather Hemmer, John Herzog, Andrea Lazo-Rice and Wesley Volkenant were elected as delegates to join me in representing you at the 39th International AFSCME Convention in Boston this summer. Our alternates are Kela Williams, Ibrahim Adam, Jacquelin Poole, Cathy Cowden, Kathy Kelly and Linda Flykt.  We have our work cut out for us. We face tough issues in tough economic times, and will hear from members around the country on how they are dealing with those issues, as we caucus with those who deliver the same services as us. Feel free to share your concerns about the work we do with us so that we can bring them to the caucus for ideas on how to resolve them. There will be campaigns for the folks who want to fill the Secretary-Treasurer position being vacated by Bill Lucy after 38 years of service. We will join everyone in thanking Brother Lucy for all of his hard work - for helping to bring AFSCME along as we grew during his years in office. We will listen to any number of amendments and resolutions - and that takes a lot of concentration as sometimes the only change is one word, but that word can change the entire meaning of the amendment or resolution. It is a lot of hard work, but it will be fun. I am very grateful that I am able to serve all of you as your representative at this convention.  

May 8, 2010 is Stamp Out Hunger Day.  With the U.S. underemployment rate at 16.9% in March, the Letter Carriers’ (NALC's) annual national food drive comes at a time when millions of Americans are struggling to put food on the table. More than 49 million people—including 16.7 million children—live in households that are hungry or risk of hunger, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. This represents more than one in seven households in the country (14.6 percent). Last year a record 73.4 million pounds of nonperishable food was collected. Please be generous this year and remember those in our community who are less fortunate than us. Place nonperishable items in a bag and leave it by your mailbox on Saturday, May 8th. All donations will be delivered to foodshelves where you live so you will be helping your friends, family and neighbors.

Happy May Day - International Worker's Day in many countries is a celebration of working people around the world.  Enjoy celebrating all of your accomplishments over the past year. So many of us gave up time via the Special Leave Without Pay (SLWOP) program last year - hats off to you!  Many of you worked longer hours with fewer coworkers - trying to maintain the same level of services so that our clients would not go without and end up in even worse situations - job well done!  The majority of us have faced a number of changes in our workplace as our Departments went through cost-shifting and some job functions of our job shifted - thank you for dealing with those changes!  We saw more clients, made more home visits, attended more court hearings, handled more phone calls, learned more computer programs, dealt with more program changes and did it all with grace while keeping our service as seamless as possible. We have worked harder and have tried to work smarter. We should all take some time to celebrate our accomplishments and celebrate us, the workers who keep this county going. So, take some time on May 1st to thank your coworkers and all working people for a job well done.  Thank you for all that you do.  Happy May Day!   Jean