From the Desk of the President (November, 2012)

October 10, 2012 Gen-earl Assembly voted to accept Memorandum of Understanding to increase the sick leave for fitness limit from $1500.00 to $2000.00. That means that those of you who use your sick leave can now submit up to $2000.00 in expenses this year. Thank you for those members who took time out of their schedules to attend the meeting and cast their ballot.  

Voting: Remember that Election Day is Tuesday, November 6, 2012. You have the right to take up to two hours for the purpose of voting. You must let your supervisor know in advance that you are choosing to take that time so that s/he can pro-vide adequate coverage - see Article 20 of our current contract.  

Visit the Council 5 website at http://afscmemn.org/afscme-endorsed-candidates to see which candidates have been endorsed by our Statewide PEOPLE Committee for US President, Senate and Congress at both the national and state level, and county Commissioners races. These candidates have been screened by your fellow AFSCME members across the state. Based on their response to questions about issues such as the right to collectively bargain and protecting our pensions, they received our endorsement. Please look to see who has been endorsed from your district and vote for those candidates so that we can begin the work to make our state great again.  

We also have two constitutional amendments on the ballot this year. One amendment would limit the right to marry and the other would limit the right to vote. Both proposed amendments would cause harm to people we know - people we work with, grown up with, went to school with - our sisters, brothers, parents, children, neighbors, friends, co-workers - and that harm will be irreparable. This is the information from the Council 5 website on both amendments:  

Vote NO on the Marriage Amendment. Marriage is about love and commitment – it’s a freedom that should not be denied to anyone. AFSCME recommends that union members reject this hurtful, freedom-limiting amendment. It’s too much government intrusion into our private lives. Watch Vi-kings punter Chris Kluwe tell why he’s voting NO

Download and share the worksite flyer. Learn more at www.mnunited.org. Minnesota’s Constitution has never been amended to deny rights to a group of people. Love is love – it belongs to everybody. Gay couples want to stand in front of family and friends and make a solemn promise to care for each other through thick and thin. Marriage is a basic freedom that shouldn’t be denied to anyone. In America, freedom means freedom for everybody. It’s simply wrong to single out a group of Minnesotans for a trait that is part of their humanity. Here in Minnesota, we believe in the Golden Rule. We treat others as we want to be treated. If two loving, committed adults want to get married, it’s not for society to judge how they find happiness. This freedom-limiting amendment is too much government intrusion into the private lives of Minnesotans.  

Vote NO on the Voter Restriction Amendment. This costly amendment would make it difficult for soldiers, seniors, and students to vote. It dumps a $50 million un-funded mandate on local governments to implement voter ID. That will increase your property taxes – or force more cuts to police and fire protection, parks, libraries, and schools. Watch former Secretary of State Joan Growe tell why she’s voting NO.

Download and share the worksite flyer.

Learn more at www.ourvoteourfuture.org. The proposed amendment fails to safeguard the voting rights of seniors in nursing homes and soldiers protecting our democracy overseas.  

They would be forced to cast provisional ballots that may never be counted. It ends Election Day registration and makes it harder to vote absentee. It also forces 750,000 voters to deal with more red tape just to exercise our most fundamental right as citizens. It flips Minnesota from a state with the highest voter participation in the nation to a state with one of the most restrictive voting laws. Shame on the legislators who put the Voter Restriction Amendment on the ballot! They’re trying to manipulate voting laws for their own political gain. Your union recommends that you reject this costly Voter Restriction Amendment. Vote NO on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

For information about voting, call (866) OUR-VOTE.  

The Constitution - whether it is for our nation, our state or our union - is meant to protect and preserve the rights of the citizens of the nation or state or members of the union - not take them away. Minnesota has a long history of being a leader of our nation in doing the right thing. This year, let us all go to the polls and do the right thing - vote NO on both of these amendments. Thank you. I am hopeful that we will have a reason to give thanks during our Thanksgiving celebrations this year.

Jean