2020 Highlights & 2021 Goals
President & ED Corner
Last year was incredibly challenging. It seemed as though we were holding our breath in the exhausting cycle of constantly-breaking news. There was little predictability; comfort has been in short supply. Through a raging pandemic and social unrest, some of us have been fortunate enough to continue our paid work from the safety of our homes, but that is not true for all of us. Some of us have continued to come into work in direct care and treatment, correctional facilities, public health lab, unemployment insurance offices, workforce centers, and college campuses with all the risks that entails. Some of us have gotten sick. Others among us – more than 400,000 – lost their lives.
Despite the collective trauma of 2020, we are settling into a Minnesota winter and the start of 2021, looking forward to things getting better. We know big things are coming – the negotiation of our 2021-23 MAPE Contract and pulling through the pandemic and starting economic, community and personal recoveries. Looking back on 2020, we appreciate the closeness we’ve experienced even though we’ve been apart. Our human impulse to connect is the foundation of a union and proves to us that we are better together. For many of us, our connections have kept us going.
MAPE fuels our connection to each other in the workplace, and while it has been a difficult year, our union has made life better because there are some things we cannot do alone. In coalition, we have pushed back the attempts to privatize Direct Care and Treatment services, saving quality jobs for our members and quality services for the citizens of Minnesota. United, we pushed back on the closures of Department of Corrections facilities that carried out important rehabilitation work for offenders, saving members’ jobs in local communities in Greater Minnesota. Unified, we ensured the legislature passed our contract, which meant both recognition for State employees’ vital work and more spending money circulating in local economies. Collectively, we advocated for State employees’ access to paid COVID leave, which meant people were less likely to face the difficult choice between pay or health. Together, we equipped State agencies with cost-savings tools like early retirement incentives before jumping to lay-offs. Our solidarity has benefited the public health of all Minnesotans.
To echo the words of poet Amanda Gorman, our union and our work together has not been perfect but it was forged with purpose. While the last year has been challenging, the success we have achieved is due to our work together. Unions consist of a diversity of opinions, experiences, outlooks and interests and MAPE is no exception. We are a democratic union, which is often a messy, complicated and unfinished proposition – yet we remain committed to our mission. Striving to improve our members’ lives during challenging times has driven our work. The strength of our union comes from our members’ participation and we need all of you now more than ever. Thank you for helping us improve life for all Minnesotans and strengthening democracy.
Megan Dayton, Statewide President and Lina Jamoul, Executive Director