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					Local 34 Banner                                                                                         Ma y 2 0 0 5




  http://www.afscmelocal34.org/                          AFSCME Council 5, Local 34, Hennepin County Social Services and Related Employees




         Our new Executive Board begins the 2005 ―race‖
                      for a new Contract
                                                                              June 2005 General Assembly
        May 2005 General Assembly                                             Wednesday, June 1, 2005 (HSB 112)

     Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 5:15 pm                                      From CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees),
      Health Services Bldg, Room 112                                        check out this link for campaign themes & slogans:
                                                                           http://www.cupe.ca/www/communicatingcupe/3950
   Special accommodations will be made for our physically challenged
             members. Please call 348-2449 or 348-0266                    “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you
                  if arrangements need to be made.                           take your eyes off the goal." -- Hannah More

                                  e
                             The Strength of the Union Begins with Me!
        Inside - Highlights:
                Winners of 2005 Local 34 Elections, page 2
                Officer & Steward Lists, page 2
                Judy Corrao Honored, page 4
                Would You Like Fries With That? – Bob Velez, page 4
                Good & Welfare, page 4
                April General Assembly News, Meeting Schedule, page 5
                Issues in the Workplace: Weingarten (Union Representation Rights), page 6
                America’s Hidden Welfare Programs – Social Security & Medicare, page 7
                Worrying about Health Care Reform, page 8
                Issues: Minimum Wage in Minnesota, page 9
                Watching the State Budget, 2006-2007, page 10
                Wal-Mart & Labor – Continuing Struggles, page 11
                Announcements & Notes from President Diederich, page 12



                                                              -1-
Local 34 Banner                                                                                                Ma y 2 0 0 5

Local 34 Officers & Stewards                            Important Announcements from President Diederich
President:
Jean Diederich                 348-0266                                  Results of the April 13, 2005 Local 34 Officer elections:
Professional Vice President:                                                     President - Jean Diederich
Mary Kay Popko                 348-7546                                Professional Vice President - Mary Kay Popko
Para-Professional Vice President:
                                                                       Paraprofessional Chief Steward - Wes McGee
Anita Selin                    596-7455
Professional Chief Steward:
Cliff Robinson                 348-7542              Welcome to the newly elected officers from contested races on 4/13/05 and the uncontested
Para-Professional Chief Steward:                      elections at the 3/2/05 GA - Mary Kay Popko, Alexander Gordon and Lindsay Schwab.
Wes McGee                      348-3532               Welcome back to Anita Selin, Clifford Robinson, Wes McGee, Chalmers Davis, Patrick
Secretary:                                           Regan, Sylvia Gutierrez, Ibrahim Adam, Andrea Lazo-Rice, Peggy Bennett and Jean Ayer.
Chalmers Davis                 348-2449
Treasurer:
                                                        A huge thank you to our outgoing officers - Andrea Lennox, Jo Ann Elston and
Patrick Regan                  348-8760
Membership Secretary:                                             Elizabeth Portlance. Their service is greatly appreciated.
Sylvia Sanchez-Gutierrez 287-7062
Sergeant-At-Arms:                                    Thank you to everyone who took time from a busy day to exercise your right to vote. It is
Ibrahim Adam                   348-2313                 your dedication to voicing your opinion that keeps our local viable and functional.
Professional Members-At-Large:                        Also, thank you to Joe Weston, Elections Chair, and all who served as elections judges,
Andrea Lazo-Rice          348-3188                   signing up a good number of new members and getting to know coworkers as part of this
Vacant (if interested, contact Jean Diederich)
Para-Professional Members-At-Large:
                                                                        process. Your hard work is very much appreciated.
Peggy Bennett                  596-8944
Jean Ayer                      596-8659                           ===================================================
Members-At-Large:                                     A special election will be held at the May 18, 2005 Executive Board meeting to fill the
Lindsay Schwab                 596-7170                                   vacant Professional Member-at-Large position.
Alex O. Gordon                 348-6910               If you are in a professional job class and are interested in putting your name forward
Stewards:                                            for nomination for this position, please contact me at 348-0266 or by e-mail by no later
Shannon Wesley 348-9558, Century Plaza 1                                       than noon on Monday, May 16, 2005.
Kela Williams       596-8452, Century Plaza 2                 ==========================================================
Areda Stewart       348-2305, Century Plaza 2                              for more from the President, turn to Page 12
Denise Cikotte      596-8958, Century Plaza 4
Zachary Rice        348-2274, Century Plaza
Carrie Hiner        879-3044, ES- 1800 Chicago
Diane Fossen        302-4700, North Point
Edgar Kusleika      348-3633- Msgs, Home Mntring       Congratulations to the Local 34 Election Winners, and Welcome to
Gary Setterstrom 596-9220, STS
                                                              New Board Members Popko, Schwab and Gordon!
Terry Grace         348-7308, Juvenile Justice Ctr
Christine Brown 348-6703, Family Justice Ctr
Rita Salone         596-1003, Family Justice Ctr                        Best wishes to the 2005-2006 Board!
Aboubker Ouassaddine 348-6393, Fam Justice Ctr
Bridget Hall        596-9032, Government Center                          From the Editorial Board of the Local 34 Banner
Jeff Meyer          348-5880, Govt Center A14
Carolyn Johnson 596-7080, Govt Center A14
Brian Arneson       348-3953, Govt Center A14
Maureen Glover 348-4492, Govt Center A16                                     Council 5 Business Representative:
Steve Heckler       287-7065, Govt Center A16                               Matt Nelson               651-287-0578
Monica Jochmans 348-4192, HSB 5
                                                                       e-mail Matt at: matt.nelson@afscmemn.org
Brian Backberg      348-3096, HSB 10
Charissa Bryant     348-2249, HSB 10                                           Council 5 Contact Information:
Kelly Sarenpa       348-8060, HSB 10                                          300 Hardman Avenue South
Patricia Shepard 348-6927, HSB 11                                       South Saint Paul, Minnesota 55075-2469
Elena Izaksonas     521-3056, 4th Precinct Station                          (651) 450-4990 (651) 455-0773
Linda Etim          287-7051, 1007 W. Broadway                            fax (651) 450-1908 (651) 455-1311
Barb Matos          998-0049, MHP
Dennis Moore        879-3560, 1800 Chicago
Christa Damrow 952-949-4620, Cty Hom School                              To Contact Newsletter Editor: Call or e-mail—
                     Trustees                                                Wesley Volkenant - 612-348-9592
       Jim Evans, John Korman, Sara Pearson               For Distribution concerns, contact Local 34‟s President, Jean Diederich at 348-0266




                                                                 -2-
Local 34 Banner                                                                                                           Ma y 2 0 0 5


                   New to the County?                                                                 Good and Welfare
                                                                               The Good and Welfare Committee was established to send
         Just transferred into Local 34?                                       remembrances to dues paying members at times of happiness
                                                                               or sorrow. This includes marriages, the birth or adoption of a
 To sign up as a full union member or for Delta Dental                         child, prolonged illness or hospitalization, or the death of a
 Insurance, or to get answers to your questions about                          member, immediate family member or significant other.
  AFSCME and membership benefits, please complete
                this form and send it to:                                      In the case of surgery or prolonged illness, or for the birth
                                                                               or adoption of a child, balloon bouquets, flowers or plants can
 Sylvia Gutierrez, Membership Secretary                                        be sent to a member.
  1007 W Broadway, Mail Code - L807                                            In situations involving the death of a member or a death in
                                                                               the family of a member, memorials can be sent. (“Family” is
                                                                               defined the same as in Article 16- Funeral Leave- in our contract;
 Name _____________________________________                                    it includes: spouse, child, significant other, father/mother,
                                                                               sister/brother, grandparent/child, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, or
 Job Title __________________________________                                  person regarded as a member of the member‟s immediate
                                                                               family).
 Work Location _____________________________
                                                                               In the event of members getting married, retiring, gaining
                                                                               U.S. citizenship, or for a death in the family of a member
 Mail Code _________ Phone _________________                                   or in the case of the death of a member, a card can be sent
                                                                               to the family.

 I’m especially interested in:                                                 Please send all requests for remembrances to one of the Co-
                                                                               Chairs for the Good and Welfare Committee. The Co-Chairs are
         I want to sign up as a full member                                   Lisa Durkot and Barb Gassler. The referrals must include
                                                                               the name of the member and the reason for your request. If the
         I want to sign up for Delta Dental                                   request is for a plant, flowers, or a balloon bouquet, you will also
                                                                               need to include the person‟s home phone number for delivery
                                                                               purposes.


 Are you interested in setting the Local 34 website as your Microsoft Explorer home page? If so, go to the website address listed above. Click on “Tools” in
 the menu bar at the top of your page. Select “Internet Options.” Under the “General” tab, find the option for Home Page, and copy the Local 34 address
                            there. The next time you bring up your Internet connection, the website will be your new Home Page.



                                           Do You Have Friends Who’d Like to Receive Our Newsletter?

                                                                       GET UPDATES!
               There is now a quick and simple way for you to get informed on a wide variety of issues concerning AFSCME Local 34. Just sign
               yourself up for our free on-line newsletter! Please follow the instructions below:

                   Send an email to the following address: cwvolkenant@msn.com

                   In the Subject Line or the Text, just say “Subscribe to 34 Newsletter”, identify who you are, and send it off

                   You will get a confirmation email sent to you within 3 days

               Note: If, at any time, you want to stop receiving these updates, all you have to do is send an email to cwvolkenant@msn.com, state
               “Unsubscribe” in the Subject Line or Text, and your name will be removed from the list.

                                          From the Local 34 Website:           http://www.afscmelocal34.org
                                   For Netscape users, you may need to press ―Reload‖ to get the most updated version.


                                 Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation.



                                                                             -3-
Local 34 Banner                                                                                                   Ma y 2 0 0 5


  From the 3/21/05 issue of HC Weekly:
  Corrao honored by MSSA

  Judy Corrao of the Human Services and Public Health Department was recently named the winner of the Minnesota Social
  Service Association's 2005 Distinguished Service Award. Corrao has served as the organization's regional chair, state
  legislative chair and state president. A recent article said, "Judy has dedicated her professional career to improving the lives
  of others through action at a grass-roots level that affects positive legislative and societal changes...Judy has worked with
  adults and children in chemical health, childcare, and sexual assault victims...She is tireless in her pursuit of social justice
  and improving the quality of life."
  http://hennote1/PA/parepository.nsf/23232f781fb6a016862569c300558949/48056674eea60c7086256fc80055a3a6?OpenDocument#Corrao%20honored%20by%20MSSA



                                                    Would You Like Fries with That?
                                                        by Bob Velez, member, AFSCME Local 34

  After seeing the movie ―Super Size Me‖, I don‟t think I want to ever eat at McDonald‟s again. I can rationalize Burger King or Wendy‟s,
  but not Mickey D‟s! “Super Size Me‖ is a fascinating story that I encourage everyone to view (it is out on DVD now); it is more of an
  indictment of our culture than of McDonald‟s specifically.

  During one of the „on the street‟ interviews with two young men (likely late – teens), one of the boys says that all we hear about how bad
  fast food is for you is “baloney”; the other said: “all you gotta do is get on that treadmill for a while after you eat it, that‟ll take care of
  things and make it alright”. Sadly, most others their age would likely say the same. However, just saying it doesn‟t mean that it‟s true.

  Similarly, our membership sometimes views the Union as our Enforcers; “go to the Union Guy and he‟ll take care of it” or: “That contract
  sucks! That good-for-nothing Union…” or even better: “they can‟t do that to us, we‟re union!” Unfortunately, as the membership of the
  organized labor movement has shrunk, so has the clout and bargaining power of Unions. We no longer command respect at the
  bargaining table. The only gains we can ever hope to get will be achieved by only one thing: generating power in the workplace.

  Good contracts, fair wages, and safe working conditions are not a result of the negotiators bargaining skill; they are not a result of the
  employer‟s good graces. They exist solely as a result of the Union leveraging our member‟s labor. Especially in public service, since
  there is not a “plant” to shut down, it is increasingly necessary to keep the level of member activity at a high level. Middle class, working
  Americans have much to fear with the advent of outsourcing / privatization. Thanks to technology, work done by Americans can be
  farmed out to a third world/developing country for a fraction of the wages, and none of the benefits, that employers offer the employees
  in the U.S.

  No one thinks that their industry will be the next victim. Government workers are more certain than many others; I mean we work for
  the government; the government wouldn‟t outsource its jobs to a foreign country, right? Recently it was discovered that the Pawlenty
  administration gave the go ahead to outsource the EBT hotline (food stamps) to a call center in India. So now, when a food stamps
  recipient has to call about their benefits, they get a worker on the other side of the world who is working for pennies on the dollar of
  what their American counterpart made.

  Don‟t wait until your job is “on the block” or “in the crosshairs”. Get active in the Union now; at whatever level you are comfortable.
  Write a letter to your state house rep or Senator; attend a rally; phone bank for labor candidates, etc. If you wait too long, it could be
  too late, and you’ll be the next one asking, “Do you want fries with that?”




                                                              Good & Welfare
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Thank you for the lovely flowering plant. It continues to brighten my days at a time in my life when I need the extra support. It also reminds
me that we are much more than a labor union. We are a group of caring people.
Sincerely,
Roxanne Vogl




                                                                        -4-
Local 34 Banner                                                                                          Ma y 2 0 0 5

                               News from the April General Assembly—April 6, 2005
   Officers Attending were: Jean Diederich, Andrea Lennox, Cliff Robinson, Wes McGee, Chalmers Davis, Patrick Regan, Ibrahim Adam, Vicki
                          Nelson, Peggy Bennett, JoAnn Elston, Sylvia Gutierrez Elizabeth Portlance, and Anita Selin
                                               Excused were: Jean Ayer and Andrea Lazo-Rice
   Kelly Sarenpa was approved as a new Steward at HSB.
   The Treasurer’s March 2005 report showed 20% of the 2005 Budget has been spent. Membership for March shows 1638 Members
   and 273 Fair Share fee payers for a total of 1911.
   President Diederich asked for approval of Doyle Juenke as a Local 34 representative on the Health Committee. She reported on the
   Employer’s use of a Wyatt Report to suggest employees are to blame for rising Health Care costs, and must change the way they
   access and use their health care services. Here are two links to the Wyatt Reports: http://www.watsonwyatt.com/research/resrender.asp?id=w-
   821&page=1 and http://www.watsonwyatt.com/research/resrender.asp?id=W-640&page=1 . Peter Benner of AFSCME will be making a presentation on
   health insurance costs. After a request by about 100 Local 34 members, the topic of Voluntary Short-Term Disability Insurance will
   be discussed in May (see April 2005 Newsletter). The President called for persons interested in serving on the Master Negotiations
   Committee. A list of interested persons was approved. Further discussion was held on Council 5’s new Grievance/Arbitration policy
   and the Minneapolis Mayoral race endorsements. A Council 5 Action Committee will meet May 3 to plan joint Hennepin County Local
   activities.
   Para-Professional Vice President Selin and Chief Steward McGee reported on an employee’s suspension without prior discipline,
                                                                                                   rd
   which will be grieved. They discussed the monthly Meet & confers in CP 4406 on the 3 Tuesday of each month. And they spent time
   discussing our Weingarten Rights (see elsewhere in this newsletter), which the County is pushing as part of its pre-negotiations tactics.
   Weingarten states that employees have the right to Union representation, but must request it themselves. We oppose the
   disciplining of any employee covered by our contract, who lacks union representation at the discipline meeting. It is part of
   our contract – Article 32, Section 7. Protect yourselves. In the pre-Negotiations period, expect other ―letter-of-the-contract‖
   actions to surface, including a limit on the number of persons attending Meet & confer from both Labor and Management.
   Chris Lewis, Clinical Nurse Specialist, reported on recent visits with Commissioners Dorfman and Opat to press for pay equity
   concerns for her classification. This group has sought pay parity with their nursing cohorts at HCMC. An agreement was reached in
   2002, but the Employer has chosen to discriminatorily issue the parity pay to only a couple of those affected, and has failed to issue
   parity pay due in 2004, as of the April 6 GA meeting. Commissioner Dorfman recommended that the group meet with each of the
   Commissioners. Commissioner Opat proved to be dismissive of the Local 34 members and officer, and expressed particularly
   negative views of AFSCME Council 5 Director Seide, the Local’s Business Agent, and Local 34. The Commissioner appeared greatly
   upset with AFSCME’s role in the HCMC Governance legislation (see elsewhere in this newsletter).
   The Local approved motions to pay lost time & mileage for members attending the April 15 Council 5 Social Service Committee
   meeting and for JoAnn Elston’s testimony to the Legislature concerning Contracting Out, on March 10. Lost time & mileage were also
   approved for an April 18 Strike Preparation Committee meeting. The GA also approved up to 5 hours lost time for Ballot Judges for
   the April 13 Local 34 election.
   John Herzog expressed concern over actions of the State Board - Social Work Licensing Board. For more, visit the Local 34 web site
   at: http://www.afscmelocal34.org/ .
   Business Agent, Matt Nelson, reported on the April 14 Minneapolis Mayoral Debate sponsored by the CLU. He thanked JoAnn Elston
   for her recent testimony at the State Legislature—Mark McAfee of Council 5 supports having Local ―experts‖ participating at the
   Capitol during the Legislative session. Matt also reported on on-going meetings with Labor Relations and the Health Insurance
   Committee. One big change – Blue Cross/Blue Shield policy holders will now be able to use Health Partners’ clinics. Also, Health
   Partners is negotiating to get Hennepin Faculty Associates into HP. The big issue this year is ―Consumer Health Insurance‖, bringing
   with it high deductibles (see Health Reform elsewhere in this newsletter). Matt further reported that Senior Clinical Psychologists
   petitioned to have their job class affiliated with Local 34 – it was approved on March 25.
   Andrea Lennox reported on on-going give-and-take with Management over changes to the Professional Meet & Confer and
   Quarterly Joint Meet & Confer processes. She is working with Christine Yates of Labor Relations to determine which side takes the
   lead in setting the Agendas and conducting the meetings.
   A motion was approved to spend up to $2000 upgrading the computer/printer in the Local 34 office. The potential purchase will be
   further investigated, and reported to the April E-Board. A motion was approved to have Wes Volkenant and/or John Herzog create an
   ad for the May 19 Minneapolis Labor Review Anniversary issue, and three ads for $90 was approved for the Labor Review. At a
   retired Local 614 member’s request, a motion was approved to donate $50 to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Minnesota Ride for Kids.
   Peggy Bennett reported on continued rumored changes in the HSR classifications.
   Considerable discussion was devoted to the issue of Contracting Out of Case Management in the DD Division. Concerns were raised
   about the roles and opinions expressed to HSPHD Management. Efforts are being pursued to find alternatives and to have
   Management work with the alternatives. Frustrations mount as over 2000 cases have been shipped elsewhere. We are angry that
   easy cases are sent to the private agency pool (and our ratio is 35-50 cases to their 10 per worker), and that money-making Waivered
   Service cases were sent from Hennepin County to private agencies. Our goal remains protecting members’ jobs.



                Meeting Schedule for 2005 General Assembly/Executive Board Meetings
                            4th                    18th                                               1st                    15th
May                     GA- HSB 112          E-Board- HSB 110        June                         GA- HSB 112          E-Board- HSB 110



                                                                 -5-
Local 34 Banner                                                                                      Ma y 2 0 0 5


   Issues We’re Impacted by in the Workplace: Union Representation Rights                                 We are all the Union!
                                     Weingarten Rights                                                 But sometimes we get angry with
                                                                                                      our Union leadership and talk about
                                                                                                      what it would be like for Hennepin
      EMPLOYEE'S RIGHT TO UNION REPRESENTATION                                                            County to not be unionized.
  The right of employees to have union representation at investigatory interviews was
  announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1975 case (NLRB vs. Weingarten, Inc. 420 U.S. 251,          Weingarten Rights only extend to
                                                                                                      union employees. Union employees
  88 LRRM 2689). These rights have become known as the Weingarten rights.
                                                                                                            have the right to request
                                                                                                      representation. The National Labor
  Employees have Weingarten rights only during investigatory interviews. An investigatory             Relations Board has taken that right
  interview occurs when a supervisor questions an employee to obtain information which could be            away from non-unionized
  used as a basis for discipline or asks an employee to defend his or her conduct.                                employees.

  If an employee has a reasonable belief that discipline or other adverse consequences may                On June 15, 2004, The
  result from what he or she says, the employee has the right to request union                          National Labor Relations
  representation. Management is not required to inform the employee of his/her Weingarten
                                                                                                       Board ruled by a 3-2 vote
  rights; it is the employees’ responsibility to know and request.
                                                                                                      that employees who work in
  When the employee makes the request for a union representative to be present, management has         a non-unionized workplace
  three options:                                                                                          are not entitled under
  (1) it can stop questioning until the representative arrives.                                         Section 7 of the National
  (2) it can call off the interview or,                                                               Labor Relations Act to have
  (3) it can tell the employee that it will call off the interview unless the employee voluntarily       a co-worker accompany
  gives up his/her rights to a union representative (an option the employee should always refuse.)     them to an interview with
                                                                                                       their employer, even if the
  Employers will often assert that the only role of a union representative in an investigatory
  interview is to observe the discussion. The Supreme Court, however, clearly acknowledges                  affected employee
  a representative's right to assist and counsel workers during the interview.                        reasonably believes that the
                                                                                                        interview might result in
  The Supreme Court has also ruled that during an investigatory interview management must                       discipline.
  inform the union representative of the subject of the interrogation. The representative must
  also be allowed to speak privately with the employee before the interview. During the                   This decision effectively
  questioning, the representative can interrupt to clarify a question or to object to confusing or        reversed the July 2000
  intimidating tactics.                                                                                   decision of the Clinton
                                                                                                           Board that extended
  While the interview is in progress the representative can not tell the employee what to say
  but he may advise them on how to answer a question. At the end of the interview the union
                                                                                                          Weingarten Rights to
  representative can add information to support the employee's case.                                       nonunion employees.
                                                                                                      http://homepages.uhwo.hawaii.edu/~clea
                                                                                                                    r/wein.html
                        Key Language from Our Union Contract
                                                                                                              Other Web Resources:
                                 Article 32 – Discipline, Section 7
                                                                                                      http://www.lunewsviews.com/your_right
Section 7.     Union Representation.                                                                          s/weingarten_rights.htm
               Employees will not be questioned concerning an administrative                          http://www.elinfonet.com/fedarticles/7/5
               investigation of disciplinary action unless the employee has been
               given an opportunity to have a union representative present at                         http://www.opeiu8.org/StewardsActivists
               such questioning. When mutually agreeable, the UNION shall have the                               /weingarten.htm

               right to take up a suspension, demotion, and/or discharge as a grievance at                       http://www.union-
               the second step of the grievance procedure, and the matter shall be handled                organizing.com/weingarten.html
               in accordance with this procedure through the arbitration step if deemed
                                                                                                      http://www.napanews.com/templates/index.cf
               necessary.                                                                             m?template=story_full&id=FB1867BA-09CE-
                       http://hennote1/intranet/publications/laborcontracts.nsf                               42EB-B42B-D39C3FBA01A9




                                                                  -6-
Local 34 Banner                                                                                                    Ma y 2 0 0 5


                                                                                                                   Despite what you've heard, the
                                      Issues We’re Affected By:                                                    real issue is not Social Security's
                America’s Welfare Programs – Social Security & Medicare                                            "solvency." The real issue is
                                                                                                                   preventing those costs from
                                              Welfare Junkies                                                      becoming             economically
                          By Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, March 24, 2005;
             http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61696-2005Mar23.html?referrer=emailarticle
                                                                                                                   oppressive and           politically
                                                                                                                   poisonous. Even if the Social
We are a nation of closet welfare junkies, which helps explain why we can't have an honest debate                  Security trust fund is made
about Social Security. Social Security and Medicare are our biggest welfare programs, but                          permanently "solvent" -- in the
because Americans regard "welfare" as shameful, we've found other labels for them. We call them                    sense that taxes cover benefits --
"social insurance" or "entitlements." Anything but welfare. Democrats and Republicans alike                        the costs of all federal retirement
embrace the deception. No one wants to upset older voters.                                                         programs may still become
                                                                                                                   undesirably high. In 2004 Social
Welfare is a governmental transfer from one group to another for the benefit of those receiving. The               Security,       Medicare        and
transfer involves cash or services (health care, education). We have welfare for the poor, the old, the            Medicaid were 8 percent of
disabled, farmers and corporations. Social Security is mainly welfare. Workers' payroll taxes pay the              national income. Left alone,
benefits of today's retirees. The taxes aren't "saved" for the workers' own retirement. There have been            they'll reach 14.5 percent by
huge disparities between taxes paid and benefits received.                                                         2030,        the      Government
                                                                                                                   Accountability Office projects.
In the 1950s and '60s, many beneficiaries received 10 or more times the amount their payroll taxes
would have returned if invested in U.S. Treasury bonds and kept for retirees (they weren't). Indeed,               President Bush's proposal for
most beneficiaries who retired before 2000 have received -- or will receive -- a surplus in benefits over          "personal accounts" diverts the
what their taxes would have returned if similarly invested, write Sylvester Schieber and John Shoven               debate. To enhance their appeal,
in their history of Social Security, "The Real Deal."                                                              he promises to exempt anyone
                                                                                                                   55 or older (anyone born in 1950
Naturally, the elderly don't see themselves as freeloaders. They think they've "earned" their Social               or earlier) from any benefit cuts.
Security benefits by paying payroll taxes. In normal usage, insurance suggests protection against                  Some other proposals lower the
something you don't expect to happen -- a house fire, a car accident. By contrast, most people expect              exemption to 45 (anyone born in
to grow old. People falsely believe they're "only getting what they have paid for." That is even less              1960 or earlier). Well, that
true of Medicare. In 2006 the Congressional Budget Office expects Medicare to cost $383 billion.                   covers most of the baby boom,
Medicare premiums (paid by recipients) pay 12 percent; payroll taxes, 49 percent; general taxes and                which stretched from 1946 to
borrowing provide the rest. Most Social Security recipients have been responsible citizens and                     1964. If the real problem is the
productive workers. Why accuse them of living on government handouts? The answer is that today's                   baby boomers' retirement costs
myths perpetuate unrealistic expectations and prevent honest debate. Americans regard "earned                      and you exempt baby boomers
benefits" and "welfare" differently.                                                                               from benefit cuts, then by
                                                                                                                   definition you ignore the
                                                                                                                   problem. On these issues, we
The first is a right, the second a privilege. In theory, welfare should serve some public purpose and not          can't think straight unless we
just enrich the recipients. By admitting that Social Security and Medicare are welfare, we allow                   talk straight. We can't control
relevant questions to be raised. Do all beneficiaries "need" or "deserve" their welfare? Is the cost               our welfare habit unless we
"unfair" to taxpayers or burdensome to the economy? Have the social and economic conditions that                   admit our addiction. Don't hold
originally justified the welfare changed? For Social Security, they have. In 1935 Americans 65                     your breath.
and older were 6 percent of the population. They're now 12 percent and by 2030 are projected to
be 20 percent. Most Americans can now save for their own retirement, including the cost of health                             Web Resources
insurance. The Social Security debate ought to involve moral values and economic realities. How
generous a "safety net" for the elderly can a decent society afford without overtaxing the young or                  http://www.afscme.org/socialsecurity/
harming the economy? How can changes be made without being too disruptive? Instead, the debate                      http://news.findlaw.com/prnewswire/2
                                                                                                                        0050217/17feb2005124407.html
has degenerated into an obscure technical exercise focused on baffling accounting concepts (trust fund              http://www.latimes.com/news/nationw
"solvency," "unfunded liabilities").                                      Article concludes in the side column….               orld/nation/la-na-
                                                                                                                    social11apr11,0,1125966.story?coll=la-
                                                                                                                                home-headlines
                                                                                                                    http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRel
                                                                                                                               ease.asp?id=45104
                                                                                                                     http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/o
                                                                                                                            pedcolumnists/22916.htm




                                                                          -7-
Local 34 Banner                                                                                                        Ma y 2 0 0 5


                     Issues We’re Worrying About: Health Care Reform                                                        HCMC Governance
       Paul Krugman: For Health Care Reform, Better Shed Some Preconceptions                                                    Issues:
                   StarTribune, April 13, 2005   http://www.startribune.com/stories/1519/5344640.html                  AFSCME Backs HCMC Governance
                                                                                                                       Bill - By Steve Share, Minneapolis
Those of us who accuse the administration of inventing a Social Security crisis are often accused, in return, of do-   Labor Review editor — April 3, 2005
nothingism, of refusing to face up to the nation's problems. I plead not guilty: America does face a real crisis --
but it's in health care, not Social Security. But serious health care reform isn't on the table, and in the current    Last-minute negotiations won gains for
political climate it probably can't be. You see, the health care crisis is ideologically inconvenient.                 workers in proposed legislation to
                                                                                                                       change the governance of Hennepin
Let's start with some basic facts about health care. Notice that I said "health care reform," not "Medicare reform."   County Medical Center (HCMC),
The rising cost of Medicare may loom large in political discussion, because it's a government program (and             improvements that AFSCME said
                                                                                                                       enabled it to support the bill. The bill —
because it's often, wrongly, lumped together with Social Security by the crisis-mongers), but this isn't a story of    Senate File 1956 — passed the Senate's
runaway government spending. The costs of Medicare and of private health plans are both rising much faster than        State and Local Government Operations
gross domestic product per capita, and at about the same rate per enrollee. So what we're really facing is rapidly     Committee.
rising spending on health care generally, not just the part of health care currently paid for by taxpayers. Rising
health care spending isn't primarily the result of medical price inflation. It's primarily a response to               The bill would remove HCMC from the
innovation: The range of things that medicine can do keeps increasing. For example, Medicare recently started          direct supervision of the elected
paying for implanted cardiac devices in many patients with heart trouble, now that research has shown them to be       Hennepin County Board and establish a
highly effective. This is good news, not bad. So what's the problem? Why not welcome medical progress, and             subsidiary corporation run by a new
consider its costs money well spent? There are three answers.                                                          board appointed by the county. "We
                                                                                                                       support this agreement," said Eliot Seide,
                                                                                                                       executive director of AFSCME Council
First, America's traditional private health insurance system, in which workers get coverage through their
                                                                                                                       5, which represents HCMC workers.
employers, is unraveling. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that in 2004 there were at least 5 million            Seide told lawmakers the compromise
fewer jobs with health insurance than in 2001. And health care costs have become a major burden on those               legislation preserves the status of HCMC
businesses that continue to provide insurance coverage: General Motors now spends about $1,500 on health care          workers as public employees and also
for every car it produces.                                                                                             maintains HCMC's mission to serve
                                                                                                                       everyone in the community. In recent
Second, rising Medicare spending may be a sign of progress, but it still must be paid for -- and right now few         months, these two key issues were at the
politicians are willing to talk about the tax increases that will be needed if the program is to make medical          forefront of labor and community
                                                                                                                       opposition to the proposed changes to
advances available to all older Americans.
                                                                                                                       HCMC. AFSCME sent out an e-mail
                                                                                                                       alert at 3 p.m. urging phone calls to
Finally, the U.S. health care system is wildly inefficient. Americans tend to believe that we have the best health     Senators asking that the bill be tabled. In
care system in the world. But it isn't true. We spend far more per person on health care than any other country --     the e-mail, AFSCME expressed concerns
75 percent more than Canada or France -- yet rank near the bottom among industrial countries in indicators from        that the legislation "threatens the jobs of
life expectancy to infant mortality. This last point is, in a way, good news. In the long run, medical progress may    hundreds of union members" and "also
force us to make a harsh choice: If we don't want to become a society in which the rich get life-saving medical        threatens HCMC’s mission as a health
treatment and the rest of us don't, we'll have to pay much higher taxes. The vast waste in our current system          care provider for many uninsured
                                                                                                                       Minnesotans."
means, however, that effective reform could both improve quality and cut costs, postponing the day of reckoning.
To get effective reform, however, we'll need to shed some preconceptions -- in particular, the ideologically driven
belief that government is always the problem and market competition is always the solution.                            "The bill has been changed significantly
                                                                                                                       in response to her concerns and those
                                                                                                                       raised by our friends in organized labor,"
The fact is that in health care, the private sector is often bloated and bureaucratic, while some government           said Hennepin County Commissioner
agencies -- notably the Veterans Administration system -- are lean and efficient. In health care, competition and      Randy Johnson. "We have reached
personal choice can and do lead to higher costs and lower quality. The United States has the most privatized,          agreement on all substantive legislative
competitive health system in the advanced world; it also has by far the highest costs, and close to the worst          issues," Johnson told the committee. He
results.                                                                                                               added: "The union leaders have been
                                                                                                                       tenacious in protecting employee rights."
                     Fighting the Elimination of MinnesotaCare for 47,000 Minnesotans:                                 "We negotiated more public controls,"
              http://www.workdayminnesota.org/view_article.php?id=4774eb247bc4c0b81fb0897922666868                     Seide said. He said AFSCME did not
                                                                                                                       want to repeat the recent experience of
                     More - Wyatt Reports on Consumer-Directed Health Benefits                                         St. Paul's public Ramsey Hospital
                             (see President’s Report, April GA Meeting):                                               becoming Region's Hospital, which led
                                 http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/full/23/1/186                            to employees there losing public
                                                                                                                       employee status. "We are convinced
                                       Key Web Links to HCMC Governance:                                               HCMC is public under this law" and will
                                           http://www.hcmc.org/governance.htm                                          satisfy National Labor Relations Board
                                  http://www.hcmc.org/governance_transitionreport.htm                                  requirements, Seide said. "Our labor
                                         http://www.hcmc.org/pr/pr2.asp?nrID=67                                        contracts and our labor conditions are
                               http://www.minneapolisunions.org/hcmc_mlr12-15-04.php                                   recognized." The legislation states that
                      http://www.afscmecouncil6.org/claudia/publications/updatearchives.htm#dec16                      the employees will retain protections
              http://www.workdayminnesota.org/view_article.php?id=88ad127fa3528db1597abdd3784d0b3b                     from the Public Employee Labor
                                      http://www.afscmemn.org/legislative/index.php                                    Relations Act and also retain eligibility
                                                                                                                       for public employee pensions.




                                                                                 -8-
Local 34 Banner                                                                                                        Ma y 2 0 0 5


                      Issues We’re Wondering About: Minimum Wage                                                       Barely scraping by on
                                                                                                                       minimum wage
                            The Minimum Wage: Dueling Talking Points                                                   Curt Brown, Star Tribune, March 28, 2005
                                                                                                                        http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/5315450.html
It's way overdue. Minimum of $5.15 an hour hasn't been raised in eight years. If it had kept pace with inflation
since its peak purchasing power in 1968, it would be more than $8.50. It's not a big problem and it's an intrusion
                                                                                                                       It's 6 a.m. and Sonny Benettie is
on the efficient workings of the free market. The economy and market-driven wage hikes are leaving fewer
                                                                                                                       lining up to grab a work slip at
people than ever at the minimum. In 2004, only 2 percent of Minnesotans (49,000 workers) were at the minimum,
                                                                                                                       Labor Ready, a day labor center on
compared with 4.4 percent in 1998. And the percent of minimum wage workers getting overtime pay or tips and
                                                                                                                       St. Paul's University Avenue. For
commissions has almost doubled to 37 percent. Citing those at exactly the minimum underestimates the size of
                                                                                                                       $6.75 an hour, he'll unload 6,000
the low-pay workforce and the harm done to it by the economy and cuts in government programs. About 10
                                                                                                                       pounds of furniture at a home in
percent of all workers make less than $7 per hour and would benefit directly from the proposed hike. Increases in
                                                                                                                       Eagan for a couple hours and come
the minimum tend to push up near-minimum wages. Many minimum earners need a job more than a raise. They
                                                                                                                       back tomorrow hoping for another
tend to be teenagers gaining valuable work experience, or secondary contributors to household income, not sole
                                                                                                                       slip. "It's hard to describe unless
breadwinners. Raising the wage will force some employers to eliminate or create fewer of those jobs.
                                                                                                                       you've lived like this, but even
Bottom lines count more than anecdotes. More than 70 percent at the minimum are 20 or older. Only about 10             people who haven't been there know
percent are over 55. Many are college students needing money to match tuition increases. The percent between           you can't live on a minimum wage
the age of 25 and 64 at the minimum has been increasing. Tens of thousands earning below the proposed                  of $5.15 an hour -- or even $7 an
minimum are primary earners for their households.                                                                      hour," said Benettie, 54. "You're not
Minnesota can't go it alone. We'll send jobs across our borders if we go ahead of other states and surrounding         living, you're just existing."
states. It will be particularly hard for our small, struggling businesses, such as mom-and-pop restaurants to stay
afloat. Let the federal government impose a uniform minimum. Fears of job loss are mostly anecdotal and not
                                                                                                                       It's nearing midnight at the Golden
borne out by research. Most previous increases did not result in predicted job loss or job migration. Fifteen other
                                                                                                                       Chicken, a takeout and delivery spot
states already have gone ahead of the federal minimum, including Illinois, and are not suffering ill effects.
                                                                                                                       in north Minneapolis where Amanda
Proponents' argument that a minimum hike would push up wages for many workers earning above that level
                                                                                                                       Hildebrand, 22, puts in about 25
shows it would be a major increased cost to business, dampening the economic recovery and driving up prices.
                                                                                                                       hours a week at $5.15 an hour. To
                                 http://www.startribune.com/stories/587/5315382.html                                   pay the bills, she pools resources
                                                                                                                       with four other low-earners who
                            Effort to boost minimum wage shows promise                                                 share a duplex.
             Dane Smith, StarTribune, March 28, 2005 http://www.startribune.com/stories/587/5315383.html

Eight years after Minnesota last raised its minimum wage, the perennial effort to bump it up from $5.15 an hour        According to a study from the state
stands its best chance in years. A proposed increase to $7 in two stages by 2006 already has been approved by the      Labor and Industry Department,
DFL-controlled Senate. DFLers are aggressively branding the current minimum as an outrageous slight to                 Hildebrand fits the profile of the
hardworking folks on the bottom rungs. Republicans dismiss the hike as unnecessary and a job-killer. But the           state's 49,000 minimum-wagers.
opposition clearly is softening, in large part because the GOP House majority is so much smaller. And Gov. Tim         More than one-third of them work
Pawlenty has hinted that he might sign a smaller increase than the one passed by the Senate.                           preparing and serving food. More
                                                                                                                       than half are between age 15 and
A smaller hike, to $6.65 an hour, has been proposed by state Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia. With a razor-
                                                                                                                       24, and women are nearly twice as
thin GOP margin of 68 to 66, Rukavina said he is convinced that he would get at least the two Republican votes
                                                                                                                       likely to be making the minimum
necessary for House approval. Rep. Tim Wilkin, R-Eagan, chairman of the Commerce and Financial Institutions
                                                                                                                       as men.
Committee, said he intends to give the bill a hearing. He also said he opposes the hike and doesn't think it will be
approved by his committee, which would block the bill from reaching the floor via the normal route.
The debate this year in committees and in various forums, as always, is providing a stimulating perspective on the     Benettie and Hildebrand offer a
differences between the parties on matters of economic theory, income gaps and social justice. Advocates say           glimpse into a working world
that an increase would be the least lawmakers could do for those on the lowest wage rungs who have been                without benefits or paid vacations
ravaged financially by recession and wave after wave of federal and state benefit cuts in programs from health         where a car, gas and insurance are
care to day care to transit service to college tuition. But business officials and conservative Republicans also use   often out of reach.
class arguments of a sort, arguing that the smaller, more marginal businesses, owned in many cases by middle-
income folks, are the most threatened by a sizeable minimum wage hike. And they contend that the hike could            While help isn't forthcoming on the
have the perverse effect of hurting the very people it's intended to help, by shrinking the number of entry-level      national level, it could be in
jobs.                                                                                                                  Minnesota. The U.S. Senate recently
Employees at eating and drinking places account for a full third of all minimum-wage workers, and many of them         rejected an amendment to raise the
are waiters or waitresses whose income is often well supplemented by tips, said Wilkin. A key battleground             $5.15 federal minimum wage for the
eventually might be the so-called "tip credit," dubbed the "tip penalty" by its foes and long sought in Minnesota      first time since 1997. Minnesota
by restaurant owners. The tip credit, which some neighboring states have, sets a lower minimum wage for people         lawmakers are considering joining
who wait on tables or get tips.                                                                                        more than a dozen other states that
                                                                                                                       have enacted their own, higher
                                                                                                                       minimum wages.




                                                                           -9-
Local 34 Banner                                                                                                         Ma y 2 0 0 5


              Issues We’re Watching with Interest: State Budget, 2006-2007
                                                                                                                        Working on the                   State
               Senate Passes Two Bills to Eliminate the State’s Projected Deficit                                       Budget, 2006-2007
                                                   March 23, 2005
The Minnesota Senate passed two bills that the DFL majority says is their attempt to structurally Balance the           The Minnesota House’s Ways &
State Budget of 06-07. The Senate accomplished this task by passing SF 1209 (a tax bill) and SF 1879 (a                 Means Committee passed their
finance bill). The vote on SF 1209 was a straight party line vote of 36-29. The Democrats were joined by                budget resolution (HR 6) on
Independent Senator Shelia Kiscaden. On the second bill, SF 1879, the Democrats lost the vote of DFL Senator            Thursday, March 17. To see a copy
Kelley and therefore the result was 35-30.                                                                              of the resolution, go to the following
                                                                                                                        website:
The two bills, when combined, would eliminate the forecasted deficit of $466 million. Half of the deficit would
be solved by raising the same revenue the Governor had in his budget proposals. The other half of the deficit           http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/resoluti
would be solved by spending cuts. The Senate cuts are nearly the same as the Governor’s proposed cuts. The              ons/ls84/0/HR0006.htm
one big difference is the Senate would not cut Minnesota Care. If passed by the House and signed by the
Governor (this is unlikely) this bill would not cut the anticipated 25,000 to 46,000 low wage workers off their         As passed by the committee, the
subsidized health insurance under Minnesota Care.
                                                                                                                        House Budget Resolution sets
                                                                                                                        2006-07 General Fund spending
One other difference between SF 1879 and the Governor’s budget proposals is a 3% across the board cut in
state administrative budgets. During debate, the Democrats said budgeting this year should be done in a two-
                                                                                                                        at just $75 million more than
step approach. First they want to eliminate the deficit in these two bills. Then they plan to return to the normal      was      proposed    in     the
multiple omnibus budget bills. In these appropriation bills and another promised tax bill the Senate could choose       Governor’s budget (the ceiling
to invest (spend) more on their priorities and raise the revenue to accomplish the increased spending.                  for the General Fund would be
                                                                                                                        $29.8 billion).
The Republicans in the Senate voted no on both bills. They expressed their belief that these two bills are just a
partisan gimmick to allow the DFL to say they have passed a balance budget. For a detailed spread sheet you can         Once the Budget Resolution is
go to the following website: http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/departments/fiscalpol/tracking/2005/fin05sbb.pdf         passed, the House is locked into
                                                                                                                        spending no more than the
                                                                                                                        amount set in the Budget
       Minnesota House sets spending limit for 2006-07 in budget resolution (HR 6)                                      Resolution. This is also the
                                                                                                                        number used to determine the
The Minnesota House, in an interesting parliamentary maneuver, has passed HR 6. This resolution sets a ceiling          spending targets for each of the
of $29.8 billion on General Fund spending for the 2006-07 budget. This limit is almost identical to the                 House’s finance committees.
Governor’s budget. In theory the separate budget committees can vary from the Governor’s budget, but this is            The House Budget Resolution as
unlikely in the House. Therefore, the House will likely set limits on health and human services similar to the          passed by the Ways and Means
Governor or possibly less. This would make it almost certain the House will pass a budget that will cut 25,000
                                                                                                                        Committee is inadequate to meet
to 46,000 low-wage working Minnesotans off their state subsidized MinnesotaCare health insurance. Almost
every American has health insurance that is directly or indirectly subsidized.
                                                                                                                        the state’s critical needs.

During debate of the resolution, a Representative pointed out that the 2006-07 budget would need to be at $30.6         A bipartisan amendment to the
billion just to keep up with a very modest inflation index and the increase in population. Also during debate           Budget Resolution will be
several Legislators said they had received several call this past weekend. An amendment was offered by Rep.             offered    by     Representatives
Dorman (R) and Rep. Greiling (DFL) to increase the ceiling by $358 million. The amendment was defeated on a             Dorman and Greiling.         This
61-72 vote. The resolution then went to a final vote. The interesting parliamentary maneuver then became a key          amendment would increase total
factor in the outcome of the vote. The leadership knew Rep. Huntley (DFL) was absent for the day. The final             General Fund spending by an
vote was 67-66. All DFLer’s voted no as well as Republican Rep. Dorman. If Rep. Huntley would have been                 additional $750 million. This
present the resolution would have died on a 67-67 vote. So by one vote, the House is now restricted to the $29.8
                                                                                                                        amendment would leave the
billion spending limit.
                                                                                                                        door open to raising revenue and
                                                                                                                        allows for a more thoughtful
                   Editorial: No more patches/State needs a solid budget                                                discussion about the state’s
                   StarTribune, April 14, 2005 http://www.startribune.com/stories/1519/5346804.html
No good household or business manager would choose to cover continuing expenses with repeated one-time                  budget. A higher spending limit
patches after the crisis has passed. No responsible legislator or governor would build the next state budget that       is also the only hope to prevent
way, either. Minnesota needs a sizable bump in state spending this year. But the temptation to use more one-time        some of the drastic cuts to health
ploys to pay for that increase must be resisted. Gov. Tim Pawlenty included no one-time bookkeeping gimmickry           and human services. This is
in his proposed budget for the next two years. But he plugged a $200 million hole with a license fee from a             especially true for the 25,000 to
proposed new state-tribal casino, and that proposal is encountering stiff resistance at the Legislature. The GOP-       46,000 low wage workers who
controlled Minnesota House acknowledged that resistance by promulgating two sets of spending targets, one that          will be given MinnesotaCare
relies on new revenue from a casino, one that does not. The latter set reverts to the bad fiscal form of the past
                                                                                                                        termination notices if the
three sessions. It extends and enlarges by $134 million a delay in state payments to school districts that originated
in 2002, pushing that obligation into the next budget period.                                                           Governor’s budget prevails.



                                                                           - 10 -
Local 34 Banner                                                                                                        Ma y 2 0 0 5


         Issues We’re Talking About: Conflict Between Wal-Mart & Labor                                                  Change Thinking About
                                       It's Not Over For Wal-Mart                                                       Wal-Mart, Author Urges
           Michael Maiello, 03.18.05   http://www.forbes.com/management/2005/03/18/cz_mm_0318wmt.html
                                                                                                                          by Michael Kuchta, Union Advocate
                                                                                                                                    March 1, 2005
Wal-Mart Stores have agreed to pay $11 million to settle the U.S. government's allegations that it had employed
illegal immigrants as janitors for years. But while this payout ends the federal government's four-year-old            Unions and allies must persuade people
investigation, Wal-Mart still faces a massive class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of workers who say they were      to act as citizens, not consumers, if they
underpaid, overworked and sometimes physically injured or abused while toiling in Wal-Mart stores throughout           expect to successfully fight Wal-Mart
the U.S. The $11 million, said Wal-Mart's general counsel, Tom Mars, will be used to set up a government               and     its    imitators,   author    Liza
program to train federal agents to find companies like the small-time contractors that Wal-Mart hired for janitorial   Featherstone says.
services.
                                                                                                                       In a speech at the Saint Paul Labor
But the class-action lawsuit brought in November 2003 in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in         Centre Feb. 19, Featherstone said Wal-
                                                                                                                       Mart's foes must get people to
Newark seeks restitution for the workers. Though Wal-Mart filed a motion to dismiss the case in March 2004, the        understand that the low prices they think
judge has already certified that the claimants can sue under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The judge is currently      they pay for goods at Wal-Mart hide the
deciding whether to uphold the workers' racketeering claim against the company. Labor attorney James Linsey is         higher price paid by the community at
confident that the racketeering claims will also stand. "That leaves Wal-Mart in a bit of dilemma," Linsey says.       large.
"They'll be under some amount of pressure to do the right thing and settle with the people, because they don't like
being called racketeers."                                                                                              Featherstone – author of Selling Women
                                                                                                                       Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers'
Wal-Mart stands accused of locking workers in closed stores; forcing them to breathe hazardous fumes from              Rights at Wal-Mart – said recent
industrial cleaners; supplying them with faulty or unsafe equipment, such as unguarded fans; and setting               community campaigns against Wal-Mart,
                                                                                                                       such as in Inglewood, Calif., prove "the
workweeks in excess of 40 hours without offering overtime pay. Linsey says that the case is in discovery and that      argument can be successfully made that
Wal-Mart is cooperating and supplying documents. Wal-Mart plans to continue its defense against the class-             Wal-Mart will hurt you and people like
action suit and believes that the government's settlement vindicates the company's claim that the janitors worked      you."
not for Wal-Mart but for the contractors that Wal-Mart hired.
                                                                                                                       Community coalitions using creative
The government investigation, called Operation: Rollback by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division            tactics – such as requiring living wages,
of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that inherited the old duties of the Immigration and Naturalization        health insurance or economic impact
Service, found 345 illegal immigrant janitors working at 60 Wal-Mart locations in 21 states since 2000. Workers        studies – are having success in slowing
                                                                                                                       Wal-Mart, she said. Until that thinking
came from 18 countries, including Mexico, the Czech Republic and Mongolia. The government never brought
                                                                                                                       spreads, however, there's little to force
criminal charges against Wal-Mart or any member of the company, and the statement issued by Wal-Mart's                 Wal-Mart to change its abysmal impact
general counsel doesn't admit to much: "Today we are acknowledging that our compliance program did not                 on workers' rights, women's rights, small
include all the procedures necessary to identify independent floor-cleaning contractors who did not comply with        businesses or U.S. trade with China, she
federal immigration laws," Mars said. In 2003, Wal-Mart stopped using independent contractors to supply its            said. "Right now, people put their
janitors. Twelve of these contractors have also settled with the government and are paying $4 million. Wal-Mart        interests as consumers before their
had previously used 100 contracting firms to clean 700 stores. Though many of these cleaning services are              interests as workers."
legitimate, some have served as recruiters and suppliers of illegal labor not just to Wal-Mart but also to
supermarkets, restaurants and hotels around the country. None of the contractors are named in the workers' class-      Citing one of several contradictions that
                                                                                                                       surround Wal-Mart, Featherstone said it
action suit.
                                                                                                                       is women who bear the brunt of Wal-
                                                                                                                       Mart's cost-cutting policies – yet 40
                              Twin Cities Feels Heat of Labor Disputes                                                 percent of American women shop at
                                         http://www.youareworthmore.org/node/88                                        Wal-Mart at least once a week. Her
The Twin Cities is getting a taste of the supermarket labor wars that have raged in other cities in recent months.     speech summarized the ongoing class-
That's the way the head of the bakers union sees it, as he surveys the wreckage of contract talks for about 600        action lawsuit that alleges Wal-Mart pays
bakery workers at about 60 Twin Cities grocery stores. The big question: Will the specters haunting the bakers'        women significantly less than men and
negotiations ? rising health care costs and encroaching non-union competition ? also visit contract talks between      limits their opportunities at promotion.
                                                                                                                       She also gave a Cliff's Notes summary of
the supermarkets and a much larger union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 653? It's no academic
                                                                                                                       Wal-Mart's       aggressive     anti-union
question for the heavily unionized Twin Cities grocery industry. UFCW Local 653 represents several thousand            policies and practices, its proven and
west-metro grocery workers, and its contract expires at the end of this month. Negotiations have started.              alleged violations of workplace laws, and
                                                                                                                       how "fines are simply the cost of doing
Rising health care costs and growing non-union supermarket chains sparked one of the bigger U.S. labor                 business, not a detriment."        Unions
confrontations in years: the 5-month-old strike and lockout of about 70,000 grocery stores in southern California.     hoping to organize workers at Wal-Mart
A similar dispute erupted in St. Louis in 2003. California grocery chains have demanded major concessions in           don't make their task any easier, she said,
health care benefits and significantly lower pay for new hires, claiming they are under increasing competitive         because they often seem to be against the
                                                                                                                       workers who work there and against the
pressure from non-union supermarkets, particularly Wal-Mart's grocery/retail superstores. "The big-name
                                                                                                                       low prices that many people genuinely
retailers Vons and Safeway have already taken on unions in the grocery business because of Wal-Mart,'' said Gary       need.
Sorenson, president of Local 22 of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union in the
Twin Cities. "That's actually all related to this," he said, referring to his union's contract woes. While Wal-Mart     http://www.workdayminnesota.org/view
                                                                                                                        _article.php?print=y&id=f728f2a975573
hasn't opened grocery stores yet in the Twin Cities, other non-union supermarkets have popped up in recent years,
                                                                                                                                  3fb7c09493d3a66fa93
including 12 Super Targets, a retail/grocery hybrid of Minneapolis-based Target Corp.



                                                                             - 11 -
Local 34 Banner                                                                                           Ma y 2 0 0 5

  From the Local President, Jean Diederich…….
    Appointments will be made for all of the Local 34 Standing and Non-Standing Committees at the May 4, 2005 General Assembly. A
            flyer has been sent for posting on union bulletin boards. A brief synopsis of each of the committees is as follows:

  STANDING COMMITTEES:
  *Budget & Finance – meets 3-6 times in fall of the year to work on proposed budget for the following year;
  *Constitution – meets as needed to review and prepare proposed amendments to the Constitution and Standing Rules for
                    presentation to the General Assembly;
  *Dental Trust – represents Local 34 on the Council 5 Dental Trust Committee;
  *Good & Welfare – handles requests from our members to recognize important events in the lives of our members;
  *Health & Safety – responsible for collecting information from our members about health and safety conditions in our workplaces
                    around the county and advocating on behalf of our members as needed;
  *Investment – reviews the investments of our Local;
  *Newsletter - provides assistance to the Newsletter Editor and web site developer;
  *PEOPLE – works with the Council 5 PEOPLE Committee on political action;
  *Master Negotiations – collates contract surveys, attends meetings of the united Hennepin County Locals to put together our
                    master contract proposal, presents the proposal to the General Assembly for approval, reviews the Employer‟s final
                    proposal for recommendation to the body.

  NON-STANDING COMMITTEES:
  *Elections – prepares for and conducts officer elections;
  *Hennepin County HealthWorks – attends meetings of county-wide committee as scheduled;
  *Strike – gathers information to prepare members for possible strike if negotiations are not successful;
  *Discrimination in the Workplace – reviews and addresses member concerns about discrimination, dignity, respect, harassment,
                      and reports to the Body;
  *HSR Review – gathers concerns of HSRs for discussion with the Employer.

    Labor/Management HealthCare, Professional Concerns Meet & Confer and Paraprofessional Concerns Meet & Confer
                Committee members are established by terms of our Constitution and Standing Rules.

           Membership in the above committees is open to all dues-paying members of the Local and appointments are for
            May 1, 2005 - April 30, 2006. Anyone interested in serving on any of the above committees should contact me
                  immediately at 348-0266 or by e-mail. Your fellow members will thank you for your volunteerism.




  The following members have been appointed to the Master Negotiations Committee so far: Anita Selin, Clifford Robinson, Maureen
   Glover, John Herzog, Wes, McGee, Laurie Simon, Deanna DeLoach, Andrea Lennox, Sylvia Gutierrez, Robin Katz, Jo Ann Elston, John
   Korman, Wes Volkenant, Shannon Wesley, Mary Kay Popko and Jean Diederich. We can always add more volunteers to serve on this
committee as we prepare our proposal for contract negotiations. This committee will have met several times in April, with more meetings in
    May, as we put together the master proposal with the other eight Hennepin County AFSCME locals as well as our own supplemental
proposal. The final results will be brought back to the June 1, 2005 General Assembly for a vote. The first meeting of the all local's Master
 Committee is set for May 5, 2005 from 5:30 - 8:30 PM at the Ridgedale Library with follow-up meetings set for May 12, 2005 and May 26,
                             2005 from 5:00 - 9:00 PM in the Hennepin County Government Center Auditorium.



   Appointments of members to the Action Committee will also be made at the May 4th GA. This committee will have its first training on
  May 3rd from 2:00 - 4:00 PM at the Council 5 office. In order to have a successful contract campaign, we will need a whiz bang group of
 folks to lead us and it will be the members of the Action Committee who will perform a major part of that function. I am really excited see
 what the minds of our members will come up with to keep us always moving forward in this campaign and consider this group of dedicated
folks the backbone of this entire initiative. Please think about joining this committee as they go boldly where no group has gone before - to
the heights of joint creativity and discovery of what events we truly are capable of bringing to fruition in the next few months. Good times!
        I look forward to many tomorrows as we work together courageously to improve our working lives……..Jean




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