Local 401 members celebrate return to in-person gatherings and contributions of President Sally Wakefield

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Lei Sun Speaking with members at the Local 401 picnic

For the first time in more than two years, 70 members of Local 401 and their families were able to gather in-person for their fall family picnic last Saturday. Central Park in Roseville was the site of the summer barbeque and several activities including face painting, get-to-know-each-other bingo and a bounce house.

Lei Sun began working at the Department of Revenue in January of 2020,

right before the pandemic took hold and many workers were urged to telework. She hadn’t yet met many fellow employees. “It is always good to see people in-person and not over video. Some colleagues were taller than I expected! My son also enjoyed meeting my colleagues and their families. The picnic was a great family event. The kids really enjoyed the face-painting and other events.”

Members from Local 401 gather at their summer picnic

Some members volunteered for their first MAPE event and said they’d do it again. “I helped organize some of the activities and I know how much goes into planning – it’s a lot of work but so worth it! With more people helping we can have even more activities,” Sun added.  

Local 401 President Sally Wakefield said events like this help to build camaraderie, trust and belonging. “This benefits you not only as a MAPE member but a state employee and as part of a community. Whether it’s your local or your agency – it builds good will. People are craving this."

“Afterward we spent a couple of hours online sharing photos. It also helped identify new leaders and give them a way to plug in,” she added. 

While not intentional, the exuberance of the picnic had a bittersweet note. Local 401

Local 401 President Sally Wakefield and MAPE Statewide President Megan Dayton

President Wakefield will soon leave the Dept. of Revenue to accept a position with MN.IT at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as IT Supervisor Parks and Trails/Operations Services.

MAPE Statewide President Megan Dayton, who has known Wakefield for 10 years, said, “Sally is the first one to step up, raise her hand and bring people together. She’s been the glue for a lot of things. Sally makes everyone feel welcome, and I’m going to miss her.”

Wakefield said she will also miss her colleagues not only at the Revenue

Dept. but throughout MAPE. “I will miss the feeling of belonging to something much bigger than myself – always have been impressed by the time and dedication people put in to help our members advance. It’s all such important work.”

The grill masters at the Local 401 picnic

Wakefield said she plans to bring her MAPE experience and union knowledge to DNR where her new position is represented by the Middle Management Association. “I am sensitive to issues MAPE members have worked hard for like paid parental leave and  respectful workplaces.  I will also try to influence my colleagues and educate them about the contract and workers’ rights, and respecting those rights,” Wakefield said.