MAPE members gather at the Capitol for Lobby Day 2024

Publish Date
Representative Athena Hollins

MAPE members gathered at the State Capitol for a day of constituent meetings with legislators and a rally in the Rotunda on March 19.  

After meeting with her MAPE constituents, Representative Athena Hollins told rally participants she was “proud to represent so many amazing MAPE members.” She noted that 5,000 bills come through the Minnesota Legislature “and when you come and tell me why a bill is important, it matters. Together, we can make a better and brighter Minnesota for all people.”  

Last year, MAPE advocated for funding for state agency budgets, and this year the union’s legislative priorities include supporting bills that strengthen and protect employee rights in the workplace, increase pension benefits, fully fund state agencies and the supplemental agency budget requests.

Barbara Monaco

Local 901 Temporary President Barbara Monaco is an information technology specialist with MNIT supporting the Department of Health as a data scientist. Speaking at the rally, she told members that state agencies are being asked to do more and more with fewer employees. “In my position, I work with data associated with complaints against health care providers. We simply don’t have the staff needed to do annual surveys, complaint investigations and follow-up at facilities like nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities in a timely manner. Tell your legislators how important it is for our state agencies to be fully funded and that we need to support our state workers. Lives could depend on it,” she said.  

Local 201 Vice President and Region 2 Steward Director Sheila Malec is a senior investigator with the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Medicaid Provider Investigations and Audits division. She spoke

Sheila Malec

about the importance of supporting legislation that protects care staff from retaliation when they raise concerns about patient safety, adding that it is an issue important to her DHS colleagues serving at regional treatment centers and the Minnesota Sex Offenders Program.    

“I served on active duty for eight years in the Air Force and I served so Americans could speak freely and air their grievances and not be afraid of retaliation. Supervisors can’t do their jobs effectively if we’re not giving them information. This bill would empower our members to voice their concerns without being worried about getting in trouble. The safety of patients and our members should always be first,” Malec added.  

Gov. Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz, who addressed MAPE members in the morning, expressed his support for government employees and the work they do, “Things come off so smoothly for people they don’t realize the work that is being done.”     

He noted the significance of contract negotiations with MAPE last year and added, “If you pay people well, and you have unions, everyone does well.” While pointing out that Minnesota had moved into the top five states on CNBC’s Top States for Business annual study, Walz noted, “Right-to-work states don’t do this.”    

Mary Kunesh

“We include the public sector as part of our accomplishments. We know if you’re not doing your job, our state can’t function,” Senator Mary Kunsesh said. “Keep organizing, lifting your voices and bringing your stories to the Capitol.”  

Lobby Day Collage