AFGE, Local 3937
Local Business Meeting
November 8, 2017
Auburn Teleservice Center, WA
Present were: Ana Rivers, Laura Novakoski, Melanie Broady, John Pfannenstein, Ivan Weich, Steve Kofahl, Carrie Kitchin-Kofahl, Lydia Marsh, Steffen Pleiness, Barbara Ehelebe, Chad Lind, Cassandra Butler and Tammy Peebles.
The meeting was called to order at 5:00pm, chaired by Ana Rivers, Local President.
Tammy Peebles was recently installed as our new Treasurer and she’s still in the process of organizing and getting the files up to date. We have now consolidated all our accounts into Sound Credit Union, and closed the accounts at KeyBank and Verity Credit Union. We are already seeing the results of her energy and her hard work to familiarize herself with the job.
The Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) is holding their annual conference on Friday, February 2nd 2018, preceded by an evening reception at the Olympia RL Hotel on Thursday. They will discuss legislative issues like paid sick leave, state minimum wage and the family medical leave act. There will be a meeting, training and then all participants will bus to the capital for lobbying. We attend this type of event to participate in issues that may relate to Social Security and to our members, and to support our brothers and sisters in other unions in their struggles, as they support us in ours. The $100 registration fee covers the reception, and lunch. Cassandra is interested in attending, and lives close enough that she would only require mileage and not hotel lodging; Ivan may be going as a CLC participant. Due to our limited budget, we discussed sending only 1-2 people. Anyone attending would need to be on leave or reimbursed LWOP, since it’s lobbying activity. Ivan made a motion that the Local fund one delegate to participate at a cost not to exceed $250; Carrie seconded. Motion passed.
Steve told us about his new position as the AFGE District 11 Retiree Coordinator. In the past, we had retirees who have chosen to remain members, but there wasn’t really an active program set up for them. Now they have a director and two staff people in Washington, D.C. The program’s goal is to engage with local organizations and communities to protect federal retirement income security and health security; like the Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA). Some examples of this are the recent proposals to have employees pay more towards their pensions, or to limit their health insurance coverage. Our Local currently has 671 active members and 25 retired members. It only costs us $2 per month to have a retired member on the rolls, so more retirees retaining their membership strengthens our Local’s funding, strengthens our voice with legislators, and benefits them individually with the same incentives that all active members receive.
He discussed that the current Republican budget proposal for the Agency’s administrative budget comes to a cut of around $490 million; they’ve proposed flat funding for several years while our expenses continued to increase. The financial strain of running the Agency on less money has had multiple negative effects - significantly reduced hiring, increased backlogs and stress, and longer lobby wait times. There have also been other, less obvious changes that may be partly due to the Mulvaney memo (OMB’s director) based on a presidential Executive Order, like a significant increase in employees being disciplined with long-term suspensions as they focus on perceived lower performing staff. The EO also instructed all federal agencies to submit concrete plans for how they were going to save money and make at least 10% cuts to our budget.
Remember that any discussions or actions you take about the national budget, partisan elections or contacting your legislators must not take place using government equipment, space or duty time. Union officials have a bit more leeway. You can go to www.AFGE.org for more information.
Steve also serves as a mentoring former AFGE officer, making his time and resources available to newer officers and passing his knowledge along. He is committed to supporting the current Local’s executive board, and others around the country.
John reports that Teresa Mosqueda was victorious in her bid for Seattle City Council position #8. She was formerly the WSLC Political Director. We endorsed her as a friend of labor, and we wish her the best.
Some big events coming up in 2018 are the triennial AFGE National Convention in August, and the annual AFGE Legislative Conference in February. At the Legislative Conference, the AFGE National office brings in people from Locals all around the country to Washington, D.C. They hold plenary sessions and workshops, and then everyone spreads out to meetings and appointments where they lobby their congressional representatives and senators by educating them about SSA and AFGE issues.
John made a motion that we accept the minutes as written and read; Ivan seconded. Motion passed.
Ivan moved to adjourn; Cassandra seconded. Motion passed.
Minutes written and submitted by Laura Novakoski, Secretary.