On Tuesday, January 3, 2017, the Minnesota Legislature will convene in session. This session, with a change in control of the Minnesota Senate, and an increased Republican presence in the House of Representatives, promises to bring a number of challenges to Public Employees and Public Employee Retirees.
Among the anticipated challenges are proposed changes to our retirement plans. With the Republicans in control of the House and Senate we can anticipate that they will be looking at increased employee contributions to the retirement plans without a commensurate increase in the employer match. For retirees we can expect that they will try to further limit the COLA increases from the current 2% to some lower number. We can also expect that with legislators like Matt Dean, Steve Drazkowski, Paul Gazelka and others of their ilk we’ll see attempts to move active employees to some type of defined contribution retirement plan, rather than the current defined benefit plan.
For Active employees we’ll find it much more difficult to get adequate funding for many agencies and programs and limited new resources to deal with increases in health care costs and negotiated contract settlements at any level (state, county or city).
WHAT CAN WE, AS AFSCME RETIREES DO?
Create a relationship with your local legislators, whether they be Democrat or Republican, that extends past the election season or the annual Day on the Hill ( March 28, 2017). Legislators need to know what the issues of their constituents are to make reasoned decisions during session. If they know an issue affects their constituents they are more likely to act positively than if they don’t hear from you. You can contact them by telephone, e-mail, or by letter. You can also visit their offices in the Capital Complex to let them know your concerns and that you care enough about those concerns to make the trip to St. Paul. Most legislators hold local, in district, listening sessions during the legislative session to gauge support for or opposition to proposed legislation. If your legislator hosts a listening session, ATTEND, SPEAK OUT!!!!
Join your fellow AFSCME members for AFSCME’s Day on the Hill, March 28, 2017. Combine your voice with the voices of more than 1,000 AFSCME members, Join those members from many locals in your local community to meet with your legislators to let them know that AFSCME is a voice in their communities and that AFSCME members are among their constituents, they have opinions about issues in front of the Legislature, and that they VOTE.
Please note that many of the retiree subchapters have chosen to pay the Day on The Hill Registration fee for members in Good Standing to attend and participate in Day on the Hill activities. Also, several active locals have included, in their expense policies, payment of the registration for Retirees from that local who have remained active in their retiree chapters. Contact your sub chapter Presidents for more information. As always, there will be busses coming from several Greater Minnesota locations so if transportation is an issue, you may have alternatives that do not include driving into St. Paul (check the C-5 website for more information as the date gets closer).
BE PROUD, SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE. WE”RE THE MIGHTY MIGHTY AFSCME.