From the Desk of the President (September, 2015)

Thank you!!!!

Thank you so much for the beautiful flower arrangement sent to me after my knee re-placement surgery (and by the way, recovery from the second knee replacement does go faster than the first one). The timing of the delivery was impeccable. My daughter and I had had just walked in the door and put my stuff down when the doorbell rang.

There was the Soderberg’s Florist delivery person with the flowers. They were a true day brightener greeting me each day.

Also, thank you to everyone who sent words of encouragement and well wishes. They helped me to keep going for-ward with that pesky – but needed - physical therapy.

Thank you!


AFSCME Council 5 Convention This years' Council 5 Convention will be held in Duluth, MN on October 1 -3, 2015. Local 34 voted to send up to 34 dele-gates to this event.

We will cover 3 nights lodging (Wednesday, September 30th - Friday, October 2nd); round trip mileage; lost time for two days (Thursday and Friday); and 3.5 days per diem at the cur-rent IRS rate.

We will elect the delegates at our September 2nd General Assembly held in HSB 110 at 5:30 PM. Any member is eligible to put their name forward to be a delegate. Note that our Local's policy for lodging is double occupancy. If you would choose to have your own room, you would be responsible to pay for 1/2 the cost of the lodging. Car-pooling is also highly recommended, as the drive can be long and company is always good on that drive. If you have any questions, please contact me, Jean Diederich, at 612-348-0266.

Negotiations: The Hennepin County AFSCME Table Team and our three Council 5 Staff Representatives presented our union proposal to the Employer on Monday, August 10th. You can find that proposal, along with the opening remarks delivered by Alison Kelly, one of our Staff Representatives, on page 6, and our Local 34 web page at We will have met again on Monday, August 24th, to receive the Employer’s opening proposal. After that is when we begin the back and forth work which is part of the negotiations process.

Many of you feel that what we do at the table is the most important part of negotiations. In fact, it is what transpires away from the table that sends a message to the Employer about how members are reacting to their proposal and what members are willing to do to further our unions’ requests. That means that we need every member participating as activists – wear green on Green Tuesdays, keep a poster by your desk during the day, initiate and/or assist with solidarity events at your worksite, get involved with our EE&O (Education, Engagement & Outreach) Committee – in short – be a visible union member and support of our union work. It is going to take all of us working together to make this happen.

For those of you who are new to this, we have six AFSCME Locals in Hennepin County. Our local is 34, Hennepin County Social Services & Related. Local 552 represents Probation & Parole Officers. Local 1719 represents our Correction-al Officers at the Adult Correctional Facility (County workhouse). Local 2822 is Hennepin County Clerical & Related. Local 2864 is the Professional Local. Local 2938 is the Legal Unit representing County Attorneys, Public Defenders, Fraud Investigators, Legal Disposition Advisors and a few other job classes.

We are over 4000 members strong – almost ½ of our county workforce. Our six locals have worked together to identify issues that pertain to all of us and we, as individual locals, work on issues that are unique to the job classes we represent. It is hard work but well worth the time and effort as everyone benefits from the improvements to our contract.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this process and join me in thanking Alex Erickson, Kenneth W. Garnier, Tywanna Gray, Maggie Keating, Kathy Kelly and Brenda Louise for serving alongside me on our Local 34 Table Team. We will be busy folks over the course of the next three months.

Remember that Labor Day is coming up – our day to celebrate the hard work that we do all year long. Make sure to take some time to relax and enjoy the three day weekend. Jean