Happy New Year, 2822!

We had a busy year in 2822! Here are some of our workplace victories from 2018 and ongoing struggles for 2019. Don’t see your area on the list and want to organize? Shoot me or a steward or officer in your area an email. We’d love to get to know you and work with you!

Health and Human Services:

In Health and Human Services, workers from a number of different areas joined their co-workers to successfully fight supervisory mismanagement, harassment and discrimination. But managerial dysfunction continues in the department. Beyond this dysfunction, the kiosk pilot project, which intends to replace 15 of our workers with automated client check-in machines at the Hubs, will be an important struggle for the department in next year. To our stewards in this department, Dari Kolstad and Robbin Sudduth, and our new treasurer Tonicia Ambrose, thank you for continuing the struggle!

Service Centers:

Service Center workers have similarly taken on issues of supervisory harassment and discrimination. Last year, our new steward Rosine Johnson filed a class action discrimination grievance with two other co-workers against her supervisor. Workers in other areas are also speaking out against harassment in the workplace and are encouraged that their demands may be finally addressed by a new departmental director.

Workers in this department also successfully fought back against the implementation of required uniforms and a new racist dress code policy that banned workers from wearing head coverings without pre-approval from their supervisor.  Congratulations to everyone who signed a petition or spoke out. We won! We also have new people stepping up to become stewards in this area: thanks Lakeashia Robinson and Antoine Moore!

Correctional Areas: Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Juvenile Detention Center:

In the Hennepin County Sheriff’s office, we successfully began site visits and regular meetings with management. A major concern for workers there is the 28-day schedule, which does not guarantee two days off in a row.  We also continue to see discriminatory practices in promotions and disciplines in this area and a lack of accountability for supervisors. Thank you to the work of long time Executive Board member Valerie Wiggins and new steward Jacky Wilson for your efforts in reviving the fight in the jail. With the new Sheriff Dave Hutchinson beginning January 2019 we hope to see big changes in this department.

Workers in the JDC have been struggling with forced overtime. Thanks to all of you who work hard with low staffing levels and to Steward Kameron Alexander for fighting hard to win a guaranteed uniform clothing allowance for JDC workers in our contract.

Central Imaging and Central Service:

Nowhere have we seen more activism and recruitment than in Central Imaging! Our workers have mobilized great numbers to participate in actions and organizing days, and initiated regular visits to other CIU worksites. One issue of concern is the increased use of limited duration positions to fill FTE. Thank you to all the CIU staff for your amazing efforts! I feel like I could name half the department, but in particular thanks to our new stewards and activists in the area: Shari Casso, Natasha Baker-Nelson, Alan Ingman, Dawb Ly, Daniel Winker and Miriam Wynn. C

Libraries:

Work in the Libraries continue around the fallout of the Staffing Strategy that left everyone wondering what their “job” was. We continue to see understaffed libraries reliant on volunteers with unmediated access to private patron data. For libraries, like Brookdale, with fewer volunteers, this puts strain on the small staff to stay caught up. For workers at North Regional, we have seen an administration that refuses to address the safety needs of staff and patrons alike. Until these workers stood up and spoke out at a Library Board meeting, nothing was done. Big shout out to DJ Hooker, Brett Schlosser and Ben Heath and all the staff at NR for your dedication to the North Minneapolis community. Also congratulations to the meet and confer team lead by Lindsey Fenner and Jayne Mikulay for your work in getting sharps containers for libraries that struggle with needles in their bathrooms. Staffing allocation and safety will be big issues for the New Year.

New Employee Orientation

Thanks to all the folks from AFSCME locals around the County for their work in introducing new County hires to our union, in particular our AFSCME NEO coordinator Rita Watson for making this vital time a huge success!

To our stewards and officers who have promoted or retired from their positions: thank you! Brianne Carmichael and Anthony Ware: congratulations on your promotions and so happy you’re still AFSCME members. To Genae Nicole our former Chief Steward, thank you for the many years you spent defending workers. And to our former Chief Steward Sam: thank you for the fire you brought to our work.

To all our members who have left, for retirement or against their will, and for all the new hires yet to come. We fight for you! Happy New Year 2822!