DEED Meet and Confer minutes May 21, 2019

Publish Date


DEED Meet and Confer Minutes

May 21, 2019


Present for MAPE:   Andy Given (Chair), Kirsten Peterson (co-chair), Tim Qualley, Maureen Dunaway, Ted Sitz, Angela Christle, Jackie Siepker, Alana Strickler, Caitlin Reid (MAPE Business Agent).


Present for the employer: Blake Chaffee, Dorcas Michaelson, Renea Bourassa, Marc Majors, Rick Caligiuri.



  1. DDS Climate Study follow-up:

MAPE inquired again about the climate survey conducted at DDS.  Deputy Commissioner Chaffee reported that a new DDS Director is expected to be announced in the coming weeks, and that the new director will examine the study and form working groups to address the findings. MAPE expects to address this issue at the 3Q19 meet and confer.


  1. Update on the 360 review process

MAPE requested an update on the status of 360 management reviews, and stressed the need for anonymity.  Management guaranteed that the process would be anonymous, and that HR is currently reviewing the rollout. Management noted that the 360 reviews are of particular interest to Commissioner Grove. The process is expected to identify themes, not individual comments.  It was noted by Deputy Commissioner Chaffee that 360 reviews are not new at DEED, but that is has been a little used an alternative format.                                                                 


  1. MAPE involvement on the Employee Engagement Committee

MAPE made a direct request to have a member on the new employee engagement committee.  It was pointed out to management that MAPE has already started working on the employee engagement/morale issues by holding statewide listening session. MAPE reiterated that a member of the Meet and Confer team be a part of the planning process for any policies and procedures under the shared governance clause of our contract.





Management was reluctant to agree to this request, but added that Commissioner Grove expects to have a wide representation of DEED’s workforce, with approximately 20 DEED employees on the committee  


  1.  Union membership questions to be referred to MAPE

MAPE noted that incorrect membership information has been inadvertently distributed, and requested that HR and payroll refer employees with membership questions directly to MAPE representatives.  Management agreed to this request.


  1. Update on severe weather policies

MAPE again requested that management revisit emergency office closure notifications.  Many employees last winter traveled to their worksites without receiving notification, and arrived at the office to discover that it was, in fact, closed.  A specific example of Feb. 25 was provided: major roads in and around Rochester were closed, yet DEED did not notify employees of the office closure. Management noted that only MMB can declare an emergency which results in employees receiving emergency pay.  MAPE responded that this was understood, but that the actual notification of office closures, made at the local level, needs to improve.  A scenario may involve an office being closed, and MMB later approving emergency pay, with some employees having to use vacation leave, leave without pay, or working remotely until MMB makes the official declaration.  MAPE added that many employees throughout the State have legitimate concerns about traveling during unsafe conditions and roads.  Management encouraged employees to check the Be Ready website: was pointed out to management that this website only lists locations that MMB has officially closed, and does not reflect local offices that are closed by outside partners (landlords, schools, etc.).  It was also noted that local offices closings should not be announced through social media such as Twitter, as happened last winter on at least one occasion.  HR responded that office announcements should not be sent through social media.  HR also stated that all employees should update their emergency contact information and review the local office safety plans.  MAPE expects to address this issue again at the 3Q19 meet and confer.



  1. Work Place Flexibility/Telecommuting

MAPE inquired if flexible work schedules are being considered. MAPE reported that much business can be completed outside the core business hours of 8:00am to 4:30 pm.  Management announced that upper management has formed a team to address a possible update of the telecommuting policy.


  1. Career Force roll out update

MAPE asked for a status report on Career Force.  Management reported that the system is currently being aligned and tested.  There was no certain time frame provided. MAPE requested that DEED management more clearly identity the St Paul Career Force Center with improved signage.  Management agreed to consider the request. It was noted that clients of VRS, Unemployment Insurance, as well as other visitors to the St. Paul Career Force Center are getting lost and unable to attend required meetings due to poor signage.


  1. Gender neutral pronouns in communication

MAPE requested that management consider gender neutral pronouns, and avoid assuming gender in official communication. Management deferred the request to the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity.   MAPE requested that the previously emailed announcement regarding gender neutral pronouns be resent, with the additional explanation that listing preferred pronouns in email signatures is optional and is not required.