MAPE Strategic Plan Plan summary 2017-19


Organize, develop leaders, and build power to change lives for the better.


Represent our members with respect to all terms and conditions of employment, to promote the welfare of the membership, and to advance the interests of all governmental employees.

Core Principles

We believe in…

Human Capacity
Every individual has the capacity to know what is good, to grow in that knowledge, to govern for the common good, and to be a co-producer of justice in the world.

Rule by “the people” — is the best form of human governance to produce a just society. MAPE wants its members to have the imagination and capacity to govern in the tension between their particular self-interests and democratic principles that apply to the whole. We operate our union in this way and we support democracy in the broader society.

Active Participation and Citizenship
Democracy is much more than voting or electing decision makers, it requires active participation from everyone. MAPE sees all its individual members as policy makers. Their decisions leverage resources that impact the well-being of themselves, others, and future generations. MAPE members are obligated to develop their capacity to govern in the tension between their particular interests and what is good for the whole. The outcome produces greater justice for everyone. MAPE gives individuals a place to learn and practice active citizenship and to organize others to do the same. In so doing, MAPE becomes stronger while helping to improve society as a whole.

Political Competence
Politics is the “work of the citizen.” MAPE members are citizens who must develop the political interest, discipline, and skills needed to fulfill the obligation to organize and govern for the common good. We are all responsible for developing political competence to define problems, produce solutions and establish common agreements that improve life for MAPE members and for the people of Minnesota.

Institutional Efficacy
MAPE is an institution organized by members for the common good. Institutions are obligated to sustain democratic values of our society. When institutions do not meet these needs, we are all obligated to organize them so that they do. MAPE members are obligated to effectively organize to build power for the common good. We are all responsible for doing this is a manner that is financially responsible and cognizant of the competing burdens felt by all.

Decision Making Standards

MAPE recognizes that representation without active participation is a hollow form of democracy. As the MAPE Board of Directors carries out its work and oversight of the implementation of this plan, the Board and all those involved are accountable for adhering to the following decision-making standards:

  • Those impacted by a problem help define the problem in light of our core principles and the realities in which the problem occurs.
  • All stakeholders are accountable for producing resources to solve the problem.
  • All stakeholders are part of the policy function of the work.
  • All stakeholders implement policies grounded in our core principles in the places where they have the authority to act.

Commitment to Relational Organizing

As an organization, MAPE is committed to relational organizing as the primary approach we take to building power for the common good. Relational Organizing refers to a sustained relationship building and educational process where people come to deeply understand that their own self-interests are closely tied to the self-interests of others in their organization and community, and that by acting together, people create power to change things for the better.

As we carry out the work of this plan, we will strive always to employ the tools of relational organizing: one-on-one meetings; leadership identification and recruitment; training and development of leaders; building leadership teams; strategic power analysis; research; developing work plans; public actions and evaluation.

High-Level Measures of Success

MAPE will be successful if we achieve the following within three years:

  1. Membership increases to 70% of represented employees
  2. At least 50% of MAPE members participate in a MAPE action within three years
  3. We elect a Governor who respects and supports the rights of public employees
  4. We have a consensus around a new MAPE structure that better supports organizing and building power for the common good  

The Core Functions and Priorities of MAPE

Core functions are the areas of essential work MAPE does to carry out its mission in a manner consistent with our principles. Priorities are specific objectives to work towards during the term of the plan. Priorities should be SMART, (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Related). If the objectives of the priorities are met, it should lead to success in meeting the high level measures laid out earlier in this plan (one through three above). To succeed MAPE will need to cease activities that distract the organization from attending to the priorities listed below each core function. Note that the core functions are not in any order of importance.

  1. Improve economic security and conditions of work for our members.
    Key priorities:
    • Involve more members in strategic actions such as contract negotiations
    • Move a workplace change agenda outside of traditional bargaining
    • Develop our stewards as workplace advocates and power builders
  2. Organize diverse professionals to build power (membership recruitment, relationship building, and conducting actions led by local leaders who are accountable to members).
    Key priorities:
    • Membership recruitment and retention – effective annual membership drives and first thirty day initiatives at every local association
    • Double the number of pilot locals – at least twelve MAPE locals committed to relational organizing and demonstrating the ability to act
    • Organize around key state-wide and local issue campaigns derived from common self-interests, (task force model such as PPL, anti-bullying, etc.) – employing relational organizing methods through state-wide campaigns
    • Strategizing with other unions and organizations leading and activating citizens.
  3. Develop the skills, talents and creativity of our members.
    Key priorities:
    • Develop local and state-wide leaders through organizing and education
    • Find ways for MAPE to make a difference in members state career development and advancement
  4. Improve public policy making and electoral politics in Minnesota.
    Key priorities:
    • Elect a pro-union Governor
    • Obtain legislative approval of a fair contract
    • Establish pilot programs in swing districts (build relationships, change the debate and organize bipartisan support)
    • Tell the story of MAPE and state employees to the public

Implementation of the Key Priority Work:

  • The Executive Committee, in consultation with MAPE managers, will assign leads for each of the listed priorities. In most cases leads will be department managers; however, there may be circumstances where board members or state-wide leaders serve as leads.
  • The leads assemble work teams and ensure that the work is carried out in a manner consistent with our principles and decision making standards.
  • The leads, in consultation with their work teams, will develop work plans for each of the priority areas. These work plans will be reviewed by Board with direct oversight from the Executive Committee. Regular progress reports will be provided to the Board.
  • MAPE staff and the Regional Director will meet with their local leadership teams to discuss local implementation of the plan priorities. Local work plans will also be written with assistance from the Regional Director. MAPE staff will be assigned assist locals in the implementation of their work plans.
  • The MAPE Board will identify non-essential activities that can be eliminated or modified to reduce time and resources needed. The basic criteria for evaluating activities will be: 1) does the activity move the plan forward or is it a distraction, and 2) does the activity build power for union. The Board will apply the agreed upon decision making standards prior to finalizing decisions, but will strive to eliminate as many non-essential activities as possible.

MAPE’s Structure

As part of the development of this plan, the MAPE Board considered whether structural changes should be made to MAPE’s governance and organizational structure. In considering this question, the MAPE Board of Directors has made two decisions regarding MAPE’s future structure: 1. to reduce the number of state-wide committees; and 2) to review MAPE’s governance and organizational structure and recommend changes by the 2018 Delegate Assembly. The following processes will be used to implement these decisions:

A. Committees

The MAPE Board recognizes that MAPE members are primarily connected to MAPE through their local associations. Membership and participation stem from local relationships, rather than through high-level committee structures. Experience has taught us that even successful state-wide campaigns, such as the paid parental leave campaign, originated and were organized principally at the local levels. Because of this and because we anticipate the loss of “fair share”, the MAPE Board believes it is necessary to reduce the number of state-wide committees which are a significant time and resource burden for the organization.

In determining how best to reduce and reorganize MAPE’s state-wide committee structure, the MAPE Board will do the following:

  1. Select a work team charged with developing recommendations to the MAPE Board on how best to reduce and reorganize MAPE’s state-wide committee structure.
  2. The work team will adhere to the decision making standards outlined in this plan and will engage committee chairs, staff committee liaisons and other identified stake holders before making any recommendations.
  3. The work team will develop a set of criteria for evaluating the committee structure and present the criteria to the Board. At a minimum the criteria will include looking at whether the committee work has built power for the union (if so, how); whether the committee’s objectives can be met at the local level and whether the overall benefit of the committee work justify the costs.
  4. The work team will complete its work and present its recommendations to the Board by the August 2017, Board meeting.

B. MAPE’s Governance and Organizational Structure

MAPE’s current governance and organizational structure as existed in its present form for many years. It is also unclear whether the current structure best situates MAPE for realities we are certain to face: the loss of “fair share”, an increasing hostile state and/or national legislature and changing demographics. Because of this, the MAPE Board has decided that it makes sense to review MAPE’s current governance and organizational structures and determine whether structural changes are needed given the realities we face.

MAPE will carry out this review and recommendation process in the following manner:

  1. The MAPE President will appoint a nine-person workgroup to review and make actionable recommendations regarding the following areas:

    • Number and location of locals or regions,
    • Local structures – geographic or agency based,
    • The Delegate Assembly – its role and frequency,
    • Our steward system,
    • Board structure, size and meeting schedules,
    • Staff department structure,
    • Union affiliation, and
    • Other related issues as necessary
  2. The workgroup shall include two representatives of the Executive Committee, three Board members, three local leaders and three MAPE staff members (with at least one representing OPEIU Local 12).

  3. At least three of the workgroup members will be from “greater Minnesota”.

  4. The workgroup will adhere to the decision making standards outlined in this plan and will engage local leaders, Board members, committee chairs, staff and other identified stake holders before making any recommendations.

  5. The workgroup will present its preliminary recommendations to the Board no later than October 15, 2017.

  6. Final recommendations will be presented to a special Delegate Assembly in late 2017 or early 2018.