Member News

2019 Member of the Year Nomination Forms


  • 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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Boilers Training Hopkins

Class size 25
Registration now closed for April 2018 Training.

Click here for Form and here for web payment.

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Monticello Public Education Funding Forum

Click here for Form

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Minneapolis school custodians file for election to join Local 284

A group of 250 Physical Plant Operators (PPOs), Senior Custodians, and Custodians in the Minneapolis Public Schools filed for a union election to join SEIU Local 284 the week before Christmas. A majority signed cards expressing their desire to have the election. The workers clean and maintain all 67 of the Minneapolis public schools, ensuring safe buildings and facilities for the tens of thousands of students in the district. (1)The effort to unionize follows a July 2017 reorganization by the school district that rolled back working conditions and wages in an effort to deal with a $28 million budget gap. A system of about 100 “engineers-in-charge” and “assistant engineers” was reduced to a contingent of 15 “physical plant operators.” According to the Southwest Journal, 30 of the district’s 54 most senior building engineers were placed into custodian positions with a pay decrease of up to $4 an hour. Both the engineers involved as well as teachers expressed concern that the change would increase safety risks in school buildings.

The union election, which will be done by mail ballot in February, is a new chapter in the changing power dynamic between the Minneapolis school district and the group of engineers and custodians. The workers were represented by SEIU Local 63 for decades until 2016 when they voted to leave and form the Minneapolis Association of Custodians and Engineers (MACE). SEIU 63 no longer exists and MACE has no bargaining rights with the school district. The workers had little leverage to stop the recent demotions and pay cuts and many in the group now see a need for change.

“I’m excited we filed the cards for our election and am ready to join the 9,000 statewide members of SEIU Local 284,” said Will Aanonson, a senior custodian who has been with the district nearly 15 years. “It is time for a change to go back to a union instead of an association.”

“Right now things aren’t going well for those of us who keep the buildings running in the Minneapolis Public Schools,” Aanonson continued, “and no one was there to help us fight back.”

(article via Workday Minnesota)

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Sartell School Workers Overwhelmingly Authorize Strike

Group Includes Cooks, Bus Drivers and Custodians Who Are Members of SEIU Local 284
The group is fighting for better schools and better jobs for Sartell families

Sartell, Minn — ISD 748 (Sartell) school employees who are members of SEIU Local 284 overwhelmingly voted Saturday to authorize a strike if there are no improvements in their fight for better schools and better jobs in Sartell. The 83-person bargaining unit includes custodial, grounds, food service, and bus & van drivers at ISD 748 Sartell-St. Stephen School District, Sartell High School, Sartell Middle School, Pine Meadow Elementary and Oak Ridge Elementary. The group has been working under an expired contract since July 1st, 2016, and have had 6 negotiation sessions and an additional 3 mediation sessions. After a year-and-a-half employees are still facing the district asking to undercut these important jobs. No date has been set for a strike and the group would have to give a 10-day notice.

Karen Klein has been a cook in the Sartell schools for 13 years and shared how school workers have been pushed to the point of a strike vote.
 “Our students deserve the best experience possible, and that means the people who work in the school need to know we are valued and that our work matters. I am proud of the work I do making healthy meals for students, but right now the district only seems to care about taking care of those higher up. Without a bus driver or custodian or cook, the school simply wouldn’t run,” said Klein. “We don’t feel like they value us at all. They will save money any way they can, even if it means hurting people who work in the school and live in the community. When they treat us like this, it shows they aren’t valuing the school, families, students and the community.”

Klein shared that the group continues to be ready to reach a deal if the district would be willing to bring a realistic offer to the table.

“We don’t expect to get everything we ask for, but we feel like the district isn’t hearing the issues that are important to families in our community that need to be resolved. All jobs in the school should be valued and treated fairly. If we are sick, we should have the same healthcare as other people who work in the school. Right now we feel like we don’t matter.”IMG951008001 (1)

Jesse Paggen, who has worked in the Sartell schools for 22 years as lead custodian, also shared why the school employees voted to authorize the strike.

“We aren’t doing this to be rich, we just want what is best for families in our community. Some people who do important work in our schools barely make enough to pay for gas to get to and from work. When the district undervalues the people who work in the school — cutting pay and making healthcare virtually unaffordable — it impacts students,” said Paggen.

“We have been fighting for a fair contract for a year-and-a-half when other contracts with the school are settled within months. I wish our work was treated as fairly as other people who work in the schools,” Paggen continued. “People from our community love working here and rely on these jobs to survive, and the district is looking to take more from people who work hard for very little. I hope this helps get the district to take us serious.”

The two sides are currently in mediation because of a lack of progress. 

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2018 Member of the Year

SEIU Local 284 Member of the Year Award

Do you know an SEIU brother or sister who really goes out of their way—for their community, their fellow brothers and sisters, and their students! If so, here is what we need you to do. Or if you’re that person just follow these simple steps.


Member of the Year is open to all SEIU Local 284 Members.

• Candidates must be nominated by a member or members 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 2018 Member of the Year will be recognized at the SEIU Local 284 Leadership Assembly in February

• Nominations are due by Monday, January 2, 2018.

• Nomination forms can be obtained by calling Terri 651.256.9110 at the Union office or download here.

Send to:

SEIU Local 284

450 Southview Blvd

South St Paul MN 55075


Fax to: 651-256-9119


* Deadline for forms to be in the office is January 25, 2018, or postmarked by January 24, 2018.



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Read about the power of our Union in piece published in MinnPost by Local 284 member Michael Sylvester

(Originally posted on MinnPost Community Voices)


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New Member Benefit Opens the Door to a College Degree

New Member Benefit Opens the Door to a College Degree

When you’re caught up in the everyday challenges of juggling a busy work schedule and family responsibilities, getting your college degree may seem impossible. Who has the time? Who can afford it?

Thanks to your union, the answer is you.

A unique new collaboration with College for America at Southern New Hampshire University means SEIU members can now take advantage of an affordable, flexible college degree program designed especially for working adults.

  • Work online at your pace. You’ll learn by completing real-world projects and advance quickly through subjects you already know. 24/7 access 365 days a year with no classes or exams.
  • $3,000 per year or less. Period. There are no additional fees or books to buy and federal student aid and financing are available for all programs. Most students at College for America expect to graduate with zero debt.
  • Accredited university. College for America, part of Southern New Hampshire University, founded in 1932, is a nonprofit, accredited degree program created especially for working adults.
  • Associate and bachelor degrees. Earn your college degree in fields like management, communications, healthcare and general studies with support from your own dedicated learning coach.

Convenient, accessible higher education from College for America at Southern New Hampshire University is the latest SEIU membership benefit born from our strength in numbers and commitment to getting ahead. Open the door to new opportunities for personal growth in our ever-changing economy.

Take the next step today. Learn more about how earning a college degree fits your life and your budget.

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