From the Desk of the President (9/2005
not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is." -
quote seems to sum up the atmosphere that I have noticed
over the past few months around our workplaces. The work of
the Master Negotiations Committee, our Hennepin Action Team
and our Strike Committee and the support we are receiving
from Council 5 has not gone unnoticed by our members. We are
trying new approaches in our "United to Make a
Difference Contract Campaign (going out on the limb) to
obtain a fair and reasonable contract (the fruit). The
benefits to our members is immense. We are unified in our
efforts - we are refreshed in our unionism - we are excited
to be part of a massive effort to make our lives better for
all of us and for those who will follow in our footsteps.
Employer gave us their initial proposal on August 18th. You
should have received the Table talk spelling out the issues
we have with this initial proposal. Since the entire
document is posted on the Council 5 web site,
www.afscmemn.org, and our Local's web site,
www.afscmelocal34.org, I am not going to comment on it here
other than to say that we can do much better. If you do not
have computer access and would like to review the document,
please contact me or any other member of our Table Team -
Anita Selin, Shannon Wesley, Mary Kay Popko and Clifford
Robinson. Our next meetings are scheduled for August 25th to
discuss our Local 34 supplemental issues, and September
12th, 19th and 28th for our entire contract. Your ongoing
support as we go back to the table for further discussions
is greatly appreciated. (We still have Local 34 t-shirts if
you want one - just send me an e-mail).
Property Tax Levy
speaking of support, I strongly encourage you to contact
your County Commissioner to ask her or him to support a
responsible tax levy for 2006. In order for us to continue
providing comprehensive quality services to the residents of
Hennepin County, we need adequate resources to do so. The
meeting to set a levy is scheduled for Tuesday, August 31st
at 1:30 PM in A-2400 Government Center. The Local has
approved paying lost time for our members to attend the
County Board meetings on this matter. If you are able to
attend, please wear AFSCME green or your Local 34 T-shirt to
show your support for a responsible levy.
Labor/Management Health Care Committee has a series of
meetings scheduled over the month of September to review all
of the information from the proposals submitted by insurance
carriers for our health insurance. The folks the Benefits
Department along with the consultants from Deloitte, will
have it broken down in a comparisons format that is
"apples to apples" which will enable us to do a
comprehensive review of all aspects of each proposal. The
goal of the committee is to find the best possible set of
health insurance benefits for the employees of Hennepin
County. It will not be an easy task but you have great
people representing you. More information will be
forthcoming as it is available.
will elect delegates to this convention, being held October
6-8, 2005 in Duluth, at the September 7th General Assembly.
Please review the August GA meeting highlights for details.
If you cannot attend the meeting and wish to have your name
put in for the delegate election, please call or send me an
e-mail by no later than noon on that day.
to Shannon Wesley who was elected as our Chief Steward by
unanimous ballot at our August 17th Executive Board meeting.
Please stop and give her your best wishes the next time you
have a number of our sisters and brothers who decided to
avail themselves of the County's incentive program.
Congratulations and best wishes to all who have decided that
this was too good a deal to pass up. Keep in mind that you
can continue your dental coverage through our union dental
program under COBRA. You can call the Council 5 office at
651-455-0773 to get the necessary information for this