Member News

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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Work of Burnsville SEIU Local 284 Member Highlighted in Star Tribune!


strib-284-590rsBurnsville custodian and SEIU Local 284 member Mark Glende was highlighted in a recent Star Tribune article about work happening at the Sioux Trail Elementary school to make sure students are drinking all of their milk. From the story:

Before their campaign got rolling, Mark Glende, the school custodian, said the Burnsville school was on track to waste about 20 gallons of milk a week. The students brought that number down to less than 8 gallons a week, he said.

Glende would know. He weighs the waste bucket, a piquant combination of leftover milk, juice and water, six times a day after every breakfast and lunch.

In October, Glende began to notice that students were filling up the bucket at the end of lunch by pouring out their milk. He decided to approach the principal, Shannon McParland, and the two decided to take the issue up with the student council.

Read the whole article, and the positive change that is already coming from the work of Mark and others, HERE.

Great work, Mark!

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SEIU Local 284 Stands in Solidarity with Standing Rock

WHEREAS, the labor movement is founded in the powerful understanding that solidarity with all peoples who struggle for respect, dignity, civic courage, and social justice enhances all lives and sustains the environment we all share, and

WHEREAS, we recognize that there is no economic justice without racial justice, and that we have a duty to stand with cultures that have experienced genocide, loss of place, forced removal, and further extraction of wealth from their communities, and

WHEREAS, the Labor Coalition for Community Action, which includes the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and Pride at Workrises in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its supporters against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to protect treaty rights and preserve sacred lands from exploitation by corporations and the U.S. government.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT SEIU Local 284 stands with Standing Rock as they protect their community, their land and their water, and condemns the desecration of ancestral burial grounds and other sacred places of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT SEIU Local 284 encourages our members to take action to support Standing Rock, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT SEIU Local 284 condemns the University of Minnesota’s use of Fredrickson & Byron for legal consulting in anti-union activity, the same law firm defending the Dakota Access LCC company that relocated the Dakota Pipeline.

Passed by the SEIU Local 284 Executive Board on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

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2018 Member of the Year

Our union strength comes from members being involved and active in their local bargaining unit, community and contributing to the education of students. We are now taking nominations for:

SEIU Local 284
2018 Member of the Year


• 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

• 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 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.


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SEIU Local 284 Constitution and Bylaws Proposed Changes

Local 284 Bylaws Proposed Changes – Draft  10 24 15

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New Executive Board Member


President Keith Niemi swears in Carol Borreson as a new of the Executive Board as a Member at Large.

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