Member News

Leadership Assembly – October 2019

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On October 26th, member-leaders from across the state gathered at the Fridley Community Center to discuss important updates for SEIU Local 284, take part in trainings, and hear from a variety of speakers. We had a great turnout, thank you to all attended!

In case you missed it, here are a few things we discussed:

 

General Member Meetingla6

We started out the day with our General Member Meeting to review the Bargaining Report, Legal Report, Political Report, and Financial Report. This was an opportunity for members to be updated on relevant news and things Local 284 has been working on, ask questions, and vote on the budget.

During this section of the day, members that had never attended a Leadership Assembly were also sworn in by Local 284’s president, Keith Niemi.

 

#ParasWhoCare , Member Wins, & Training

la7After the general member meeting, leaders heard about Contract Campaign successes, member wins that occurred after joining SEIU Local 284, and then they split off into three different groups to get trained up on signing up members!

 

Minnesota PERA

After Lunch we had the opportunity to hear from Luis Argueta with the Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) organization. He gave a presentation about the PERA Benefits available to public employees and answered many questions we all had.
We heard about the benefit options available in this pension, learned how PERA calculates your benefits and how PERA fits into your overall financial plan.

This session gave us a great overview of PERA and was ideal for people in any stage of their career. Overall this was a very informative part of the day, and we hope we will have the opportunity to provide this presentation la8again in the future!

If you’re interested in doing some research into this program on your own, their website has some very helpful information.

 

Call to Action and Final Words Steve Frisque, UAW

Finally, we ended the day with the opportunity to hear from Steve Frisque about the recent General Motors strikes that were occurring across the U.S.. The la9UAW members stood together for fair wages, quality affordable health care, a share of the profits, and a pathway to permanent status for temporary employees. Ultimately, they reached an agreement just before Steve, the president of UAW Local 722 in Hudson, gave a presentation, so it was a wonderful opportunity to hear about  their hard work paying off.

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2020 Member of the Year

Member of the Year is open to all SEIU Local 284 Members. Candidates must be nominated by a member and be in good standing with their dues for a minimum of one year prior to the nomination. Candidates must provide an outstanding contribution to the education of students as well as being involved in their union and community.

The 2019 Member of the Year will be recognized at the SEIU Local 284 Leadership AssemblyNominations are due by Midnight on December 15, 2019. If mailing, they must be postmarked by midnight on December 15th.

Nomination forms can be filled out online here.
If you would like to mail or fax in a copy, please call Haley at 651.256.9110 in order to obtain the form.

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2019 Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to 2019 Local 284 Scholarship Winners:

Ben Alberg, Spring Lake Park

Lilia Bjorg, Prior Lake

Jennifer Eldredge’s child, Elk River

Lori Greenlun’s child, Maple Lake

Nichole Nelson’s child, Braham

Teresa Ruohomaki’s child, White Bear Lake

Shelly Starz, Sartell-St Stephen

Tammy Utecht’s child, St Cloud

 

AFL-CIO 2019 Scholarship Winners:

This year we are proud to announce that someone from our Local won a national scholarship!

BeccaOlson

 

For more information about the Education benefits available with your Local 284 membership, visit this page.

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Como Picnic

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This summer we had our first annual Como Picnic! Thanks to everyone that showed up. Despite the rain we had hundreds of SEIU Local 284 members and families make it out to Como Park for our 2019 member picnic. We had a great day with good food and conversation. Members had a chance to go on rides in Como Town, enter a drawing to win prizes, and visit animals at the Zoo with their family. If you didn’t have a chance to attend, we hope to see you next year!

 

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Congratulations to 284 Member Beverly Tinney on Being Awarded the 2019 RISE AWARD!

Recently Local 284 member and Mounds View Paraeducator Beverly Tinney was awarded the 2019 RISE Award for her outstanding work in our schools and in our union. Check out some photos from the award ceremony and read her bio from the program below.

Congrats, Beverly!

****
Bev 2Beverly Tinney started her career as a social worker before taking time to raise her kids. When she returned to work, it was as a Paraeducator, something she expected to do for “one or two years.” Yet here she is, over 12 years later, beloved by students, co-workers and fellow union members, being awarded the 2019 SEIU Local 284 RISE AWARD WINNER!

Beverly works in a level 3 classroom with students in an ASD program, meaning she often gets to see the
same students over many years, developing relationships and supporting these students in their growth.

As one co-worker shared, Beverly “has an amazing connection with our students.” From giving high fives
in the hallway to remembering important dates in student’s lives, it is clear Beverly cares about the education, well-being and happiness of students. In one story highlighted by a co-worker, Beverly saw a student who struggled in the afternoons and made sure to have a joke ready for them when she saw them. The student looked forward to the joke each day, with their behavior improved and they always
looked forward to seeing Beverly to get their afternoon started right.

RISE awards in Washington, DC, at the U.S. Capitol, June 12, 2019. Photo: Jay Mallin

RISE awards in Washington, DC, at the U.S. Capitol, June 12, 2019. Photo: Jay Mallin

Whether it is a student struggling that Beverly made sure to make time for each day or a co-worker who got sick that Beverly advocated for and checked on while they were out, Beverly is always looking out for others. Her kindness and compassion shine through all that she does.

In addition to her amazing work in the Mounds View Schools, Beverly also is also a union leader, having served on her bargaining team, as a union steward and as a Member Political Organizer (MPO). She was an important leader in in defeating her district’s harmful proposal for involuntary transfers, which would have been detrimental to both students and staff. As unions have been under particularly aggressive attacks the last few years, she has signed up new members, spoken at School Board meetings and led a petition campaign to secure benefits for a co worker going through a difficult health situation.

Beverly’s work for students and public schools has also extended outside of the classroom as she has worked extensively to help elect pro-public education candidates and has worked at the Capitol to hold them accountable to the promises they’ve made to our schools and students.

She has testified in support of education funding and lobbied legislators to make the needed investments in our schools. When she isn’t working with or fighting for our students, she volunteers at multiple organizations and is
involved in fighting for women’s and workers’ rights, joining marches and rallies with fellow Minnesotans.

In all her actions, Beverly is fighting for a future where all
Minnesota students can reach their full potential. Beverly was the clear choice to receive the 2019 RISE AWARD. Combining kindness, compassion, hard work and an unwavering commitment to fight for the future she believes in, Beverly is a wonderful ambassador for our union.

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Local 284 Members in Rochester Rally for “Snow Day” Pay

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Earlier this year Governor Walz and the Minnesota Legislature passed a “Snow Days” bill that ensured school districts would get funding even if they could not make up all the days that were cancelled this winter because of extreme weather. At the bill signing Gov. Walz was joined by hourly school workers, showcasing that school employees wouldn’t be punished for bad weather. But now, with the money in the hands of school administrators, many districts are refusing to pay hourly workers like paras, bus drivers, maintenance, food service and more. This is wrong!

That’s why member in the Rochester area attended their school board meeting to demand that school workers get paid for the days the district got funding for, just like the Governor and Legislature intended. We are tired of the greed! You can read some news articles below that show the powerful action taken by SEIU members and other school employees. We’ll keep you up to date on developments.

KIMT News: SEIU workers at Rochester Public Schools say they should be paid for snow days.

KTTC (NBC): Rochester Public Schools Employees Request Snow Day Compensation

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Time to Be Thankful (Winter 2019 Update from SEIU Local 284 ED Kelly Gibbons)

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Happy New Year! As we head into 2019, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the ups and downs we’ve experienced in the last year as a Union.

Last February I became the Executive Director of SEIU Local 284 and it has been an incredibly eventful 12 months on the job. This has been a time for growing and learning. Below you’ll find an overview of our work in 2018 and some news heading into 2019. I’ll work to get out a quarterly letter to members to keep you up to date, but always feel free to reach out at any time. My email and phone number are at the bottom of this note.

Dealing with Challenges and Growing Our Union

Our union had been preparing for the anti-union Janus case for many years. When the Supreme Court finally ruled at the end of June their 5-4 ruling was, as we expected, in favor of the corporate-backed groups who want to break our unions. This was an attack on Unions and all working people. They want to crush us and turn us against each other. But that did not happen!

In the face of these attacks, we chose to fight back. We decided to stand in solidarity with each other and our Union. We decided we were not going to let them take our rights away or our voice in the workplace. We decided to invite our non-members to join us and we saw some exciting growth. We’ve been fighting for 40+ years to get where we are, and we decided that we aren’t going back. We know that united we stand and divided we beg!

But we still have a lot of work to do. At the moment we are right around 80% membership. To continue to win for working families and our students, we need every member to talk to every person who is not a member or who is a new hire and ask them to join us. We need to protect, maintain and grow our contracts. Our work could be dismantled if we don’t have members to protect it.

Because we lost some revenue after the court case, I had to make some decisions that were difficult, but every decision was made to make our union stronger. We had to lay off some staff and we made some changes with the remaining staff. I wanted smaller staff turf so they can spend more time with members, so you might have a different Contract Organizer. If you’re not sure who represents you, you can go to the website and we are all listed on there. We will continue to focus on efficiency, which will make us stronger going forward.

As we move forward we are looking for people who want to help build their worksites to help grow our union. We offer training and lots of leadership opportunities for those who step up.

If you are interested and want some information, please don’t hesitate to contact us to get involved. You make the difference!

Fun News

Our 2018 Member of the Year award winner was Mark Glendy, a 22-year custodian in the ISD 191 Burnsville-Eagan- Savage School District. Mark went to Washington D.C. where he joined other union members who were recognized for going above and beyond in their place of work. We were all so proud of Mark! SEIU members do more than just clean, feed, drive and care for kids. We know that all of you do so much every day to make our schools great. We teach, shape, mold, train, listen and care for these young people. You all are true heroes and teachers for our kids and community. After Mark got his award, we spent a couple of days lobbying at the Capitol about why we need to invest in education and school employees.
Supporting Candidates Who Support Working Families in the 2018 Election

DSC_2076 (1)This fall it was time to pick a new Governor with Mark Dayton retiring. I had the opportunity to sit at a table with community partners and other unions who were tired of how our government doesn’t seem to work for all of us. We spent a lot of time listening to our members and asking what it means to be a Minnesotan. We asked each other what we really wanted for our communities. What we heard was we need affordable health care and lower housing costs, safer schools, smaller class sizes, stronger unemployment laws, clean water for our families, ect..

After member-driven discussions, we decided to wait until after the primaries to endorse a candidate for Governor. We ended up endorsing Tim Walz for Governor and candidates (both Republican and Democrat) across the state who shared our values. In October we had our Leadership Assembly where we heard from some of our endorsed candidates and talked about how important this election was for working families and our unions.

Then we got to work! Some SEIU members took time off from their jobs and did work to help get the candidates elected. Others volunteered for phone banks and door knocks. In the end, our candidates won big time! Having conversations with our co- workers and neighbors is what makes change possible.

I would like to say thank you to everyone who volunteered and worked like crazy! We are so excited to be working with our new Governor, Tim Walz, and the new elected officials across the state. We will work tirelessly to make sure they invest in our schools, lower healthcare costs and make our state a place where every family – white, black or brown, rural or metro – can live safe and happy lives.

What’s In Store for 2019

  • SEIU 2019 Leadership Assembly
    • February 16th at the office of the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation.
    • Open to all. Learn about what we are working on in 2019 and get involved!
    •  Info and Sign up will be on our website at www.SEIU284.com.
  •  SEIU Lobby Day at the MN Capitol
    • March 19 th (all day)
    • Meet SEIU members from across MN as we talk about our priorities and visit
      our new elected officials to share what we expect from them this legislative
      session. We also will hold a rally in the Capitol Rotunda!
    • Info and sign up will be at www.seiumn.org/lobbyday

Looking Ahead

In closing I would like to say one thing: the attacks on our Union have only just begun. If you hear from these billionaire-funded anti-union groups, ask yourself who is it that wants you to give up your Union and why do they have an interest in you not being part of a Union?

We know that a small group at the top want even more for themselves, and they know that Unions are the best way to counter their greed. They want more for themselves, which is why they want to take away your union where we have won:

 Pensions
 Sick Time for yourself and your
immediate family members
 Vacation days
 PERA, FMLA and 401k contributions
 Health Care, Dental, Paid Family Leave & Personal days
 Overtime, 40-hour work weeks
 OSHA, ADA and EEOC protections
 Grievance Procedure
 Job protections so you aren’t an “at-will” employee who can be fired for no reason

We know our work is important. We know the value we provide for the students in our schools. We know the power of standing together. We know there are wealthy anti-union groups who would rather we didn’t exist, but we aren’t going to let them stop us from standing together and winning a better future for our families, our students and our communities!
In Solidarity,

Kelly Gibbons
Executive Director, SEIU Local 284

KellyG@Local284.com  || 651-256-9112

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2019 Member of the Year Nomination Forms

2019 MEMBER OF THE YEAR INFORMATION

  • Member of the Year is open to all SEIU Local 284 Members
  • Candidates must be nominated by a member or one can nominate oneself
  • Candidates must provide an outstanding contribution to the education of students as well as being involved in their union and community
  • The 2019 Member of the Year will be recognized at the SEIU Local 284 Leadership Assembly: 9:00 AM Saturday, February 16, 2019
  • Nominations are due in the office by Monday, January 7, 2019
  • Nomination forms can be obtained by calling Terri 651.256.9110 at the Union office or by clicking on link Member of the Year form
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Congratulations to Local 284 Member Mark Glende, 2018 RISE Award Winner!

SEIU Local 284 member Mark Glende received the RISE (Recognizing Inspiring School Employees) Award on May 9, 2018 in Washington D.C. along with four other award winners from across the United States. Mark is the Head Custodian at Sioux Trail Elementary in the Burnsville School District.

Mark is a person who simply doing his job well is not enough. Mark worked with student groups to create the Schools for Energy Efficiency (S.E.E) SQUAD to create more energy efficiency in the school. For this project, he worked with students on things like turning off classroom lights when unoccupied and making sure blinds were down at the end of the day to keep the heat from escaping overnight. They found out that by turning off gym lights for just two hours a day the school could save an additional $500 per month.

Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 1.32.07 PMBecause of the work of Mark and others, Sioux Trail Elementary School became one of the first Minnesota schools to become an ENERGY STAR Leader Top Performer and in 2007 ranked as the second most energy efficient school in the Midwest. He accomplished this in a school that is over 60 years old.

Another project Mark helped grow was the Enhanced Recycling and Organics Program. The focus was on recycling in the classrooms and recycling and organic separation in the cafeteria for breakfast and lunch. He taught a group of students the proper way to sort their lunch trays, and those students went on to teach their fellow students. That group of students gave up their recess time once a week to go classroom-to-classroom and talk trash, compost or recycle, and worked with Mark as Trash Talkers. Out of this Mark started the SMART (Sort More And Reduce Trash) program. Over the next couple years, the school was able to reduce trash output from a four-yard dumpster picked up daily to a one-yard dumpster picked up once a week.

Mark also started the “One More Sip” challenge. In 2016, Mark got tired of seeing all the milk being thrown away that students didn’t drink at breakfast and lunch, so he came up with the One More Sip challenge. It took six weeks to establish a baseline of milk being poured down the drain, and then he started asking students to take one more sip before they went out to recess. From October to May the school increased milk consumption from 60% to over 90%.

Mark had the student council help him and he dubbed them his Moo Crew. They made posters to hang not only in the cafeteria but all over school. Now students celebrate two-sip Tuesday and Finish Your Milk Friday. They also came up with weekly toasts that always ended with “and here’s to the cows!”

Mark is a classic example of school employees across Minnesota who go above and beyond every single day to make our schools safer and more enriching for our students. Our SEIU Local 284 family is incredibly proud of Mark.

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Meet new SEIU Local 284 Executive Director Kelly Gibbons

At the February 17th member meeting, Kelly Gibbons was announced as the the new Executive Director of SEIU Local 284 following news that Carol Nieters was stepping down from the role she had held since 2008.

DSC_1215Kelly has been involved in the labor movement for 30 years, starting as a steward and as an active member of her bargaining team.

“I have had the opportunity to build my leadership through SEIU helping me with ongoing trainings and support. I found out what it truly means to be a member because of my work through the negotiation process, being at the table and the boss telling me and my co-workers why we didn’t deserve a raise or insurance.”

Through her time in the labor movement, Kelly has experienced the power of coming together to win better lives for our families and better schools for the students in our communities.

“It was through the experience of organizing a strike to ensure that we were heard at the table that I realized what it meant to have power in numbers. We led a successful strike and ensured that we had insurance for our family’s and a raise. My family called me Kelly Ray because they saw that if there was a fight for workers, I was going to be a part of that fight!”

As she settles into her new role, Kelly has a clear vision of how to continue the work of making SEIU Local 284 a place where we fight for, and win, the strong contracts that we deserve at a time when labor is facing increasing attacks from greedy corporations and CEOs who don’t want us to have a collective voice.

“The union is the only real institution that works for working people to ensure that we have things like quality health care, safety on the job, equitable wage, and a voice at the tables where the decisions are being made. I am excited to have the opportunity to lead this Union that I love. I want to give back what it has been given to me. We live in troubling times and I want to lead this fight against people who are trying to take away our Union and our rights as working people. People died to ensure that we have this institution and I will not forget what they gave up.

“I am hoping to inspire people to reach for the stars and become the new leaders that will continue to fight for working people. When we work together, nothing is impossible. When we stand together in our Union, we are unstoppable!”

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