Members gather for MAPE’s 43rd Delegate Assembly
Nearly 150 MAPE members gathered in Minneapolis Oct. 27-28 for this year’s Delegate Assembly (DA), the first time the annual meeting was held in-person since 2019.
“It’s invigorating to reunite in-person, showcasing the resilience and unity of our union. This Delegate Assembly is not just a celebration of our historic contract and surge in member engagement but also a testament to our leadership and commitment to labor rights across Minnesota.” said MAPE President Megan Dayton.
DA is comprised of members elected to represent all 39 locals in 21 regions of our statewide union and is MAPE’s highest form of government. Delegates have the authority to establish MAPE policies, approve budgets and levy dues, amend governing documents and adopt procedures for elections. They voted on a variety of matters including resolutions, budget and legislative priorities.
Members were well-represented as delegates shared many opinions from their locals and regions during budget and resolution debates.
Last year at DA, the Finance Workgroup forecasted expenses will be higher than our dues income, resulting in a budget deficit if dues remain at $21 per member per pay period. The Finance Workgroup looked at more than 60 variations of dues models to work toward updating our dues structure which have not been adjusted in 11 years. The Workgroup and Board of Directors agreed on an equitable structure that allows for a fair contribution of .75 of a member’s hourly wage, roughly 45 minutes, with a $32.50 cap.
The budget votes were broken into expenses and revenue, with many delegates sharing comments from their members, delegates approved both MAPE’s expenses and revenue for 2024. “Our goal was to generate the funds needed to win our big fights and secure our future. This is about investing in our collective voice. With this investment in our collective power, we can continue to fight for historic contracts like the one we negotiated this year, continue to have our voices heard at the Capitol during Lobby Day and achieve legislative victories to make the contract ratification process simpler, provide more employee job protections and modernize labor laws,” said MAPE Treasurer Chet Jorgenson.
MAPE President Dayton added, “Our union’s strength lies in our organization – of ideas, people, and resources. The fair update to our dues structure is a strategic step in fortifying our future. United in our endeavors, we demonstrate that solidarity leads to significant victories.”
Three resolutions were presented this year: (1) Replacing Regional Chief Steward with Regional Lead Steward, (2) Statewide Officer and Regional Director Term Limits and (3) Update Election Rules to Change the Timeline for Negotiations Representatives and DA Delegates and DA Alternates.
After discussing the resolutions, delegates voted to:
Resolution 1: Allow the Employee Rights Committee members to choose their own titles but may not use the word “Chief.”
Resolution 2: Statewide Officer, Regional Director and Organizing and Political Council Members’ terms have been increased from two-years to four-year terms and may serve two consecutive terms. Members elected before 2023 are not affected by this rule.
Resolution 3: Delegates voted to amend the election rules for clarity and the Elections Committee will now call a special election each year for DA delegates and alternates and shall call a special election each negotiations cycle.
Organizing Council: Membership Recruitment
Despite the telework environment presenting challenges for membership recruitment and engagement, some locals have been very innovative and made great strides this year. Organizing Council Chair Lauren Siegel acknowledged several locals for their hard work to find creative solutions for increased connection:
Most Improved Membership
Locals 902, 1304, 1601 and 1201.
Locals with 75% or Higher Membership
Local 1303 with 88.9% membership, Local 1903 with 79%, Local 301 with 78.3%, Local 1701 with 78.1% and Local 1002 with 77.7%.
Since DA was in-person this year, the DA Planning Committee wanted delegates to have the opportunity to catch up and learn more about what many of our statewide committees and Board of Directors subcommittees have in store for 2024. It is through our actions together that we create a powerful union. The 10 groups set up tables to encourage conversation included: the Coalition Building Workgroup, Employees Rights Committee, Finance Workgroup, Governance, MAPE’s staff union OPEIU, MAPE PAC, Meet and Confer Chairs, Negotiations Committee, Organizing Council and Political Council.
Delegates also had the opportunity to learn more about MAPE’s statewide groups and subcommittees of the Board of Directors and hear from Minnesota House of Representatives Speaker Melissa Hortman and labor historian and East Side Freedom Library Co-founder Peter Rachleff.
Delegates heard MAPE Political Council John Ferrara about the Council’s 2024 initiatives, which the delegates voted to approve.
Ferrara also told delegates that the Political Council will be piloting a Community Engagement Officer position in the locals to help further the political and legislative work at MAPE. Other initiatives include non-partisan caucusing, 2024 Lobby Day on March 19, member-to-member voter education, get out the vote efforts and 2025 legislative priorities. If you’re interested in learning more about the Community Engagement Officer position or would like a member of the Political Council to speak to your local, contact Action@Mape.org.
MN House of Representatives Speaker Melissa Hortman
Minnesota House of Representatives Speaker, Melissa Hortman, addressed the delegates on Saturday. “I like to say it’s the House that labor built because of our incredible partnership with our friends in labor, and because supporting workers and improving economic security have consistently been our number one priority,” Hortman said. “After years of work by legislators and a massive coalition of organizations – including MAPE – we finally got paid family leave across the finish line, ensuring workers can take up to 20 weeks of paid leave.”
The Speaker said she was happy to hear that MAPE had ratified its contract with the State over the summer and reiterated that workers would no longer run into political obstacles getting it approved at the Capitol, “Thanks to changes we made this session, we removed legislators and legislative nonsense from this process. From now on, the administration and workers agree on a contract that is negotiated within the enacted budget, the contract will be implemented – plain and simple.”
Keynote Speaker Peter Rachleff
East Side Freedom Library co-founder and popular labor historian, Peter Rachleff, was the keynote speaker at this year’s Delegate Assembly. He taught for many years at Macalester College in St. Paul where he focused on United States labor, immigration and African American history. He dubbed his talk a conversation between the past and present and asked delegates, “One of the reasons to study history is to find the lessons from people like us – what they did in the ‘30s or ‘90s. What can we learn?”
He spoke about Minnesota’s long and rich labor history from the Minneapolis Teamsters strike of 1934 to strikes at Hormel and other industries in the state, including the recent UAW strike where MAPE members and others showed their support by picketing alongside workers in Plymouth.
“Our union transcends mere numbers and contracts; it embodies unity. This unity, forged through our common goals, dreams, and relentless commitment to enhancing each member’s life, underscores our true strength. Together, unified in purpose and vision, we fortify the foundations of MAPE,” Dayton said.
MAPE was proud to honor several MAPE members with annual awards at this year’s Delegate Assembly and a complete list will be available in the next newsletter.