December 2020 General Membership Meeting

General Membership Meeting-AFSCME 404

December 17, 2020

430 PM Video Conference


Adam Castle, Ryan Cates, Steve Wilking, Emilio Florez, Annie Jakacki, Kurt Crosby, Hans Paulson, Jake Schoenecker, Erin Granberg, Breanna, Mallory Thomas, Tom Keck, Stacey Mueller, Alex Flores, Eric Hesse

1.Secretary Report:

Motion to approve November meeting minutes by Adam Castle. 2nd by Kurt Crosby. Motion passes.

2. Treasurer-Antonino Guerrero:






SAVINGS: $ 125314.53

$45000 transferred from savings to checking

*$800 of the approved $3000 was spent on cat stickers for the work action

SUBMITTED BY: Antonino Guerrero

Motion to accept upon audit by Kurt Crosby, 2nd by Steve Wilking. Motion Passes.

3. Correspondence: MSOP Meet and Confer Minutes:

FMHP Meet and Confer Minutes:


4. New Business:  Negotiations Assembly is at end of January. January 29th virtual meeting. Let us know if you don’t have the day off. Council 5 normally sends out leave letters.

When a member has a conversation with a supervisor, document it by emailing yourself the notes so you have record.

Charitable donations: we usually give 5, 200 donations. Steve makes motion to approve the funds for a total of 1000. Discussion is that one donation is to BENCHS, a member had issue with donating to animals and not human services. Donations to animals in turn helps humans.

Yearly donation to the kitchen in St. Peter. They have not contacted the union yet.

Gifts to membership for the holiday. We have a week until the holiday season. Turkeys or gift cards were brought up. Any ideas? Hans-Turkeys was the worst experience in my other union. We usually gave a gift certificate to the local grocery store. We had 70 turkeys left over last time which we gave to the food shelf. Kurt is in favor of 25-dollar gift card to all members which would cost around 23000 dollars for all paying dues members. HyVee or Aldi’s are ideas. Any others? Alex-I heard Hy-Vee or Kwik Trip. Cates-Kwik Trip is anti-union. Hy-Vee is more labor friendly. Family Fresh is local, but Hy-Vee is in Mankato and St. Peter. Hans supports Hy-Vee due to treating their employees well. Emilio-What about VISA gift cards to spend wherever they want. VISA charges a fee. Kurt-Motion to approve up to 25-dollar gift card for each union paying member for holiday. 2nd by Emilio. Motion Passes.

5. Old Business: Money was approved last month for the work action. If you need any stickers, talk to an officer. Not supposed to wear in patient areas. If you don’t take them off when told by management, you can face discipline. Steve-If you have something that is cat related, wear it. Something like cat in the hat or things not so closely related to the “black cat.” Jake-maybe one round of t-shirts. Steve-They do not like these stickers. They have been messing with our schedules to not attend meetings, etc. We need to fight back in constructive ways. Hans-Some people don’t know what the cats are about. Their reasoning is that patients might be triggered. There are plenty of things they can be triggered by. Colors, names, etc. Alex-we made that point clear and they didn’t budge. Its more than unjust firings, they are heavy handed currently. Eliminating vacation days and other things. COVID and budget are hot button words when there is a hot topic. There aren’t very many good conversations that are being held. Cates-We have yet to receive the investigation reports from HR on the firings. We sent two requests and they were ignored. Stacy-what about Council 5? Can’t they step in? Annie-We have requested it, they own the investigation and we must wait to get the report. Alex-We also need to remind them that we own the grievance procedure. Cates-Due to them not presenting the reports, we had nothing today. They are basically violating the contractual process. Stacy-can council 5 send an email saying this is what will happen for wrongful firing? This is screwing with the process. Annie-we are doing what we are contracted to do, the grievance process. They own it, we can send 40 letters. They own it and they are the ones that need to produce it. We are building a case on how they are refusing. Our hands are tied at this time. The process is outlined in the contract and that’s where we are at. Kurt-I understand the process, but it really does suck. It doesn’t make sense to me or anyone else. I suggested Annie have her bosses come talk to us. They are like the parents, maybe they need to come listen to us. The local. Hans-Helpful to anyone to reach out to the NRB? There is a regional office in Minneapolis. We may need a rep from them for unfair bargaining practices. Annie-If it gets to that we will explore that. It took 2 weeks to even get the stipulation. We got them back 10 days ago. We are working in a pandemic and it is the holidays. As soon as we can show they aren’t providing the things we are asking. We have to show evidence they are not working with us. We have to show they are refusing. For ten days, we won’t get anywhere. Hans-We need to show a pattern. We can show patterns across many different issues, it doesn’t have to be a pattern for one issue.

6. Items from the membership: Hans-what is going on with the COVID cases? Cates-we had a meeting with management today and they threw out a bunch of lies. Notes can be seen in the meeting minutes. Hans-Where does the organization fall on priority list and what are plans for vaccinations? Cates-They do know that it will be done on site. we are priority 1 behind nursing homes and hospitals. Annie-It will be easier for us since you have on site nursing. DHS has to work with MDH to roll it out. Cates-as soon as we know, we can put it out to the membership. Vaccinations will be voluntary and free. They talked about staggering staff in case there are side effects.

Carol said it’s not only the cat, but it is the content of the sticker. Ryan educated them on what it meant. *Conversation of the cat sticker in the labor/management meeting can be seen in the FMHP meeting minutes*

Response from management about OSHA complaint. They are basically lying by saying they don’t require staff to return to work after exposure. Ryan-I want to have a lot of proof when I go back to them about how management is lying. Keck-We need to get them on campus for a site visit and show them how management is lying.

Be mindful of your internet usage. Only use for non-work related if you are on break in non-patient areas. Management is watching your usage.

Hesse-In my meetings, I learned we are no longer in the first wave of vaccinations.

The vaccine is not required. It is voluntary and it is free.

7. Good and Welfare:

8. Officer Reports:

President: Ryan Cates- Attended Forensic Meet and Confer.


Attended Weekly covid-19 updates- Management continues to refuse to support hazard pay for employees working during this pandemic.


Attended MSOP Meet and Confer.


Attended Forensic safety Committee.


Filed multiple grievances and sat investigations.


Talked with members in multiple work areas and listened to their concerns.


Presented and argued grievances.


Communicated information to E-Board members about issues facing the Local.


Chaired the Executive Board Meeting.


Chaired the General Membership Meeting.


Worked on putting together work actions to increase solidarity and to attempt to compel management to remedy our grievances.


Attempted to work with Human Resources to get management to respect out contract and recognize our voice in the workplace. 


If any member of Local 404 feels they are not being represented by our Union, please let me know. We cannot fix problems if we do not know there is a problem.


We ask that all members who are interviewed as non-subjects in an investigation, request Union representation. If management refuses, then members should refuse to answer questions. Participation in investigations is completely voluntary and they cannot coerce you to answer their questions. We need to do this to compel management to discontinue their practice of refusing to allow Union representatives into investigations.


VP: Steve Wilking- I continue to field many phone calls regarding union questions.  This is awesome so keep calling with your questions.  I continue to attend meetings which include Forensic Meet and Confer, CBHH and Care, weekly check-ins and Interest Based Problem solving.  I continue to file many grievances on your behalf.




Bid movement.  If you have a person leave your unit and there is a bid posting and there is no bid movement contact an elected officer. 


If management uses emergency language against you.  Let us know immediately.


We have recently received a MNOSHA complaint.  It was posted.  Management gave their response.  We shall see what comes of that. 


Lastly, Management continues to investigate people.  This is nothing new and again I will remind you of your Weingarten Rights.

 I’d like to communicate about investigations.  There continues to be many.  There are both Subject and Non-Subject investigations.  Your local union’s recommendation is to have a union steward present for your investigation.  This recommendation is to protect YOUR rights.  Management continues to state that you are not allowed a union rep if you are not the subject of an investigation.  This is not our stance! I have copied and pasted a link for you to understand what your Weingarten Rights are.  Here is the link  

There are (2) sections I want to point out.

(1)  The purpose of the interview is to elicit facts from the employee to support disciplinary action that is probable or that is being considered, or to obtain admissions of misconduct or other evidence to support a disciplinary decision already made.

(2)  Rule 2 - After the employee makes the request, the supervisor has 3 options. S/he mug either:

  1. Grant the request and delay the interview until the Union representative arrives and has a chance to consult privately with the employee: or
  2. Deny the request and end the interview immediately; or
  3. Give the employee a Choice of: 1)having the interview without representation or 2) ending the interview

AFSCME’s Recommendation to you for any and all NON-Subject investigations are as follows.  I refuse to answer any questions until I have a Union Steward Present. 

Note:  You can’t refuse the investigation.  You can refuse to answer the questions as they are voluntary.  This is why we make the above statement.  Also, at any point in time a NON-Subject investigation can turn into a Subject investigation based on YOUR answers.  Also, we don’t want the investigator to badger or coheres an answer from you that you didn’t intend to give. 

So what is my summarization here….. Know your contract! Know your RIGHTS! And lastly, when in doubt CONTACT A STEWARD! 

Now I apologize for the caps with the punctuation.  I’m emphasizing things for your benefit.  We are here to work for you…. To represent you.  Please utilize our knowledge and experience.









            Information Center

     How to file an OSHA Complaint (Link Below)


     Union Recourses


In Solidarity,

Steve Wilking 

Vice President - Steward Coordinator

AFSCME Local 404


VP: Eric Hesse- Update on COVID-19 Survey and Consent: It appears that MMB and DCT as a whole is not concerned with AFSCME’s concerns regarding the COVID-19 survey and consent that was sent out, in particular the part where it says if you were deemed to have a high-risk exposure, you will be asked to take a COVID test and if you refuse, you will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence until you do and you may be discipl9ined. If you are comfortable with this and taking the test, if you have not completed the survey and consent, you can go ahead and fill it out and consent or if you have already done so, then you don’t have to do anything. If you are uncomfortable with this and have not completed the survey and consent, you can simply choose to not partake in the survey and you will not be asked to consent. If you have filled out the survey and consent and are not comfortable with it, we are advising you to reach out to your HR representative and state you would like to rescind your consent.


In MSOP, we’ve been dealing with getting procedures set in place for ambulance and hospital coverage for staff to ensure their health and safety when it comes to COVID. We’ve also been trying to deal with the issues within Health Services. But overall, it’s been a relatively quiet month in MSOP.


As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of us. If we don’t hear from you, we don’t know if there is an issue going on.


I hope and wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season. This year has been tough on a lot of us, but together, we will get through this and hopefully stronger.


In solidarity,


Eric Hesse

Vice President - Administrative

AFSCME Local 404


Executive Board: Jake Schoenecker- Sitting investigations and attending union meetings.

Executive Board: Chief Steward Emilio Florez- 306 individual grievances on contract violations reported for forensics. No other updates at this moment.

Executive Board: Chief Steward Alex Flores- I attended meet and confer this month and presented grievances.  Tentatively meeting with staff from Care with other officers at the end of the month. 

Executive Board: Chief Steward Nick Weerts- Happy New Year! It’s been a full and active year. I continue to attend our monthly Labor Management and Union meetings. The transition of the Health Services department into difference schedules & to the Atlas program continues at a slow pace. There have been numerous changes & upheavals throughout the process, which has been challenging to keep on top of. Regular meetings continue to happen as we strive for an equitable & contractually bound work area. I’m also sitting investigations as needed and tending to other concerns as they arise.


All Members are encouraged to stay informed of any COVID leave policy changes, especially as we get into the Winter and influenza season. We continue to stay on top of budget concerns as well as any staffing changes during these uncertain times. All members are encouraged to reach out with any concerns & questions or their own. Communication continues to be key to our success & strength, so Members are encouraged to reach out with concerns/observations. Please see for all meeting minutes.


Respectfully Submitted,
Nick Weerts

MSOP Chief Steward



Executive Board: Chief Steward Marvin Sullivan-

Executive Board: Jamie Sheppard-

CS Facility Support: Stacey Mueller- November into December was a busy month a busy month.  Be sure and make time for yourself in all of this Holiday’s preparations.  COVID has made people sad, isolated and estranged from normal daily life.  Take time to make sure you are doing ok, and be sure to reach out to family, friends and neighbors to bring comfort and joy.  I’ve seen an uptick in investigations, we need to be cognizant of priorities, getting to work, taking care of family, and making back up plans for illnesses/emergencies (yours or your family) is vital.  Be sure to let the AODS office know if you are not going to be making it to work, if you are going to be late, etc.  ( I just had to call in late, because I could not find my keys.  My dog had them… and she likes to play tug of war.)  Common courtesy goes a long way, your co-workers, and supervisors appreciate it.  Happy Holidays!  Stacey E-Board Rep


Chief Steward MSH / CRP / Nursing Nights: Kurt Crosby- Attended monthly meetings with management. Also completed the Toy Drive with the extra help from Heidi H from C.A.R.E. and Heather G from M.S.O.P. Thanks to all that donated, the foster children and family’s from local DHS that received the gifts were excited beyond description. This year has been hard on all of us, but somehow we as an group…MSOP….CARE…..FMH….FNH and others came thru to help children, a huge THANK YOU to anyone that donated and also again to Heather G and Heidi  H for helping facilitate the collection and distribution.


Filled out several class action grievances, and am working with some staff that were wrongfully dismissed from employment here at FMH.


Began negotiations with some people at C5 to have more of a presence felt at our local, Annie is doing great but I hear from many members they feel that is not enuf. I want you all to know they have welcomed any input from our amazing members.


Recently I have facilitated several discussion with members with respect to why they pay their dues, and I wish not to go on a laundry list of reasons why I feel it is important to remain a member with voting rights, I just want to offer 3 reasons. They are not the only reasons, but they are important to me and why I choose to do what I do here for our local.


  1. You have a voice, and I will do anything I can to make every single member be heard. Remember, when you voice your opinion and vote on issues you make the decisions…If you remain silent, you are missing out one of most basic rights you have, a voice they HAVE to hear.
  2. Protection from irrational decisions from management. It may not seem like we get the best result from some things that are implemented, but the contract provides clarity and places rules on things done. Many jobs, when they make a decision, that’s that..done. They still do them, but we have a process in place to grieve them. They take time, and we need try and expedite the process, so refer to #1, a voice.
  3. Benefits. With the power in numbers, we have the ability to influence lawmakers. It gives us the undeniable power to be visible and not just be a couple people with an issue. We have great benefits that stretch far beyond medical, dental and now vision. Make no mistake, every single contract they try to remove many, many things. But when we are full members, and we vote, we have numbers they cannot ignore when we use our voice. Yep….refer to #1.

Use your voice!!


Annie Jakacki- Negotiations Assembly is January 29. 843 members out of 890 for 94.7 percent membership


Motion to adjourn by Hesse. 2nd by Jake. Motion Passes.

Adjourned at 615pm