From the Desk of the President (September, 2003)

Announcements

#1 - Please join me in welcoming Elizabeth Portlance as the new Membership Secretary for our Local.  She was elected by unanimous ballot at our August 20th Executive Board meeting to fill the position vacated when Nancy Fleming- Norton retired.  Liz will take over the duties of this office effective September 1, 2003, so all questions regarding membership, dues and Delta Dental enrollment, can be referred to her.

Congratulations to Liz!!! 

#2 - Of course #1 brings us to the next round in the 2003 saga of E-Board openings. Liz has been serving as one of our two Paraprofessional Executive Board Members-at-Large and will vacate that seat when she begins her new job as Membership Secretary.  The E-Board moved to hold a special election at our September 17th E-Board meeting to fill this seat.  So, if you are in one of the Para-professional job classes, have been a dues-paying member in good standing for one full year (12 months) prior to September 1, 2003, and are interested in serving your fellow members as a Member-at-Large, please contact me at 612-348-0266 by no later than Monday, September 15, 2003, to indicate your interest.  All interested candidates will be invited to appear at the E-Board meeting for questions and answers with the election immediately following.  If you would like to know more about the job duties of the office, talk to either Liz or me. 

#3 - Carrie Hiner and Chalmers Davis have volunteered to represent Local 34 on the Hennepin County HealthWorks Committee.  They both will bring enthusiasm and a fresh outlook with them which will benefit all of us.  If you have any ideas that you would like them to bring to the committee meetings, please share those ideas with them. Thanks go to both Carrie and Chalmers for their efforts.                     

Our health is of paramount importance as we deal with our daily jobs and this is one avenue that the County that is dedicated to maintaining and improving that state of health and well-being. 

# 4 - The Executive Board, along with the Constitution Committee, will be meeting to review the duties and responsibilities for our officers and stewards as listed in our Local's Constitution and Standing Rules.  Our goal is twofold: 1st - we will look at revamping those duties and responsibilities so that we can provide better and efficient service to the body and 2nd - we want to have any changes made to be in place prior to next year's officer elections so that anyone considering running for an office will have a clear understanding of what the job entails.    We welcome any thoughts that you might have on this subject - what makes sense, what is obsolete, what has been working well, what could be done better - as we take on this task.  The current Constitution Committee is as follows:  David Heins, Chair, Chalmers Davis, Jean Diederich, Andrea Lennox, Wes McGee, Dennis Miller, and Vicki Moore. 

August has been an extremely busy month for me - filled with more meetings than usual leading me to wish that I had kept that nifty little "sit-upon" that I made many years ago at Girl Scout camp!  Perhaps the most fun meeting time this month was attending the state AFL-CIO convention 8/11/ - 8/13 at the Hilton Hotel.  The highlight for me was Linda Chavez-Thompson's speech at the Central Labor Union Women's lunch. She spoke about her personal experiences as a woman in the union in relation to her family - how she had to balance family time with her union duties and responsibilities.  Her speech hit home as I listened to her relate her tale of the years when her daughter was a teenager and very resentful of Linda's time spent away from home while doing her union work.  It reminded me so much of the times that all of us who are officers, stewards and activists spend working for the betterment of our sisters and brothers while trying to balance time with our families and friends.  There have been many times when my family lost out in the short term due to the commitments I had made to attend meetings, etc. My "big picture" mind could see it as a long term gain for all of us as, to quote Paul Wellstone, "When we all do better, we all do better" and the goal of all that activity was to obtain better benefits for all of us - at work and at home.  Linda's reported that her daughter is now active in her own Union and she constantly consults her so all of that hard work bore fruit.  My daughter is Management but, like Linda's daughter, she does ask me plenty of questions about procedures and work rules.   

Negotiations have officially began.  We, the nine AFSCME Locals, presented our proposal to the Employer on August 18th. They will give us their proposal on August 25th.  If you would like to review any of the documents, please contact one of our Table Team members - me, Charissa Bryant, Andrea Lennox, Wes McGee, Dennis Miller, Elizabeth Portlance, Cliff Robinson, Lindsay Schwab or Laurie Simon. Also, we should be getting issues of the Table Talks out as soon as it is possible to do so.           

Enjoy your holiday - Labor Day!

Jean