2019 Delegate Assembly Recap
Nearly 200 members attended MAPE’s Delegate Assembly to discuss governing changes, the budget and strategic plan, participate in workshops, hear from the governor and other speakers and determine whether to assist striking auto workers.
MAPE Executive Director Lina Jamoul reminded members that at last year’s Delegate Assembly rumors were swirling that the labor movement was finished following the recent the Janus vs AFSCME decision.
“One year later, I am proud to report that MAPE is not only surviving, we are thriving. We have more than 11,000 members and record member leadership and engagement in union activities,” Jamoul said. She noted that 1,542 new membership cards were signed in the past year.
MAPE statewide Treasurer Todd Maki reported that MAPE remains financial sustainable post-Janus.
Gov. Tim Walz spoke to delegates in the morning and said he wanted to continue to work with the union “to create the most professional workforce and recruit and retain the best workers. Minnesota works because MAPE works.”
Photo at right: Gov. Tim Walz addresses members at Delegate Assembly.
He noted that he looked at protecting employees’ pensions “as a sacred promise and that defined benefit will be there.”
United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 722 member Steve Frisque told delegates how the GM strike is affecting 74 workers at their plant in Hudson, WI. He recounted the sacrifices employees made after the company filed for bankruptcy and said GM should be treating workers better now that it is showing record profits.
“We are very concerned about the company’s increasing use of temporary workers. These temporary workers are doing the same work we are and getting paid less and have fewer benefits. They get only three unpaid vacation days a year – and management turns down most of their vacation requests,” Frisque said.
Photo at left: UAW Local 722's Steve Frisque tells delegates how the GM strike is affecting 74 workers at their plant in Hudson, WI.
Delegates voted to offer financial and other support to striking UAW Local 722 employees. Local 401’s Ted Snaza said “justice and fairness” were the driving forces behind the union’s support. “The use of temporary workers is a big issue and I immediately thought about corporations and state government using more temporary workers in the future,” he added.
Representatives from several MAPE locals said they’d also like to help UAW Local 722 through donations or picket line support. So far, 43 people have signed-up to walk the picket line alongside UAW Local 722 members. If you are interested in participating in this action, please email Action@mape.org with “UAW” in the subject line.
Frisque thanked delegates and promised, “If MAPE ever needs us, we’ll be there.”
AFSCME Council 5 President Patrick Guernsey and Education Minnesota President Denise Specht also addressed the delegates.
Photo at right: Local 801's Ken Rodgers receives the Neil Farnsworth Award from MAPE President Chet Jorgenson.
Ken Rodgers and Ellena Schoop received MAPE’s two top member awards. President Chet Jorgenson presented Local 801’s Rodgers with the Neil Farnsworth Distinguished Service Award and Local 701’s Schoop received the Betty Rogers Award for Outstanding Union Achievement.
Photo at left: Region 7 Director Ellena Schoop celebrates receiving the Betty Rogers Award with members from her local.
Nearly all delegates attended one of five workshops offered at the conference with topics including politics, organizing, Meet and Confer teams, leadership and steward development, and diversity, inclusion and equity.
Several MAPE locals were recognized for increasing their membership to 80 percent or above including 201, 301, 802, 902, 1303, 1701, 1703, 1901, 1902, 1903 and 2101.
According to Local 802 President Jerry Schmitt, “meeting with members face-to-face is the most important thing we can do. It is so critical to welcome the member and acknowledge the union.” He said it is so vital to meet with new members during their first 30 days that he tries to ensure someone from his local talks with new hires on their first day.
Jamoul ended the meeting by discussing highlights of MAPE’s 2017-2019 strategic plan. She said MAPE achieved high measures of success through membership increases to more than 70 percent, increased member participation at actions, elected a governor who respects and supports public employee rights and launched the Political Council and Organizing Council to support building power for the common good.
Discussions with locals will soon take place to begin developing MAPE’s 2020-2022 strategic plan.