Letter from President Hoffman to AFSCME Members

Happy New Year! 

Sisters and Brothers, 

Wow, what a year it was! Nationally, public employee unions lost the right to collect fair share dues; but in MN we won BIG!  We helped elect a union friendly Governor and secured a majority in the MN House of Representatives. This looks to be a good year for US with a worker friendly Governor and House of Representatives. It should make for a decent year to negotiate our next contract and have it ratified in a timely manner. 

I want to remind everyone the assault on our union rights has not stopped. I don’t want to sound like a broken record but want to keep it on everyone’s front burner. There are groups and individuals who are trying to trick you into giving up our union for a short-term monetary gain. And, I do mean short term. If you were to quit the union, you may save a couple bucks in the short term but without a solid union, we will not be able to continue to have the rights all have fought so hard to attain (vacation, sick leave, a fair paycheck, benefits, job security, etc.). 

There are more lawsuits in the pipeline that will try to take away more of our rights. One of them will surely try to take away “check off”, which is the ability to have our dues taken directly out of our paychecks. To help combat this possibility Council 5 has set up an option where we can have our dues taken out automatically from a checking or savings account bypassing the employer. When you opt into this Council 5 tells the state to stop taking dues out of your check. You can set the date for your dues to come out and, if you are off during the summer or breaks and not receiving a check, you can temporarily stop and then restart once you are getting your check again. You do not have to do this right now but if you would like to start just talk to your campus steward, chief steward, or call Council 5 (651-450-4990) and they can help you set up this option. 

Finally, I just want to remind everyone if you are having a member meeting or a get together on your campus and would like me to visit, let me know as soon as possible and I will do my best to attend. My goal is to try and to get to every campus. If there is a time that works best for you let me know. 

In Solidarity,
Joel Hoffman, President
AFSCME Local 4001
218-443-5899
[email protected]