News Releases

AFSCME Endorses Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan


The AFSCME Council 5 Executive Board Thursday unanimously endorsed Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan for Governor and Lieutenant Governor in the November election, along with a slate of other highly qualified candidates for state and federal office.

The Executive Board is made up of members and elected by members.

“Tim and Peggy have strong track records of supporting the rights of workers, allowing us to make life better for ourselves, our families and our communities,” says Council 5 executive director John P. Westmoreland. “We are confident they will stand up to the billionaires and other powerful corporate interests trying to take away our rights and silence our powerful, united voice.”

“As a former teacher and member of the National Guard, Tim respects public workers and understands the importance of quality public services,” says Council 5 president Judy Wahlberg. “We are thrilled to endorse lawmakers like Tim and Peggy who will represent workers, not just the 1 percent.”

“I’m proud to be endorsed by, and stand with, my union sisters and brothers of AFSCME Council 5 to protect workers' rights,” says Tim Walz. “As a lifelong educator and proud public sector union member, I understand how important unions are to ensure workers' and their families' rights are protected. This is even more important after the Supreme Court’s Janus decision earlier this summer. As your next Governor, I will stand with you and fight every day to ensure our unions stay strong in Minnesota." 

The Executive Board also proudly endorsed:

  • Ilhan Omar for U.S. Representative, Fifth Congressional District
  • Joe Radinovich for U.S Representative, Eighth Congressional District
  • Keith Ellison for Minnesota Attorney General

AFSCME Council 5 is a union representing more than 40,000 public-sector and non-profit workers across Minnesota. We advocate for excellence in services for the public, dignity in the workplace, and opportunity and prosperity for all working families.

AFSCME condemns attack on correctional officer


A sergeant at Minnesota Correctional Facility-St. Cloud was treated and released after being assaulted by an inmate Wednesday. AFSCME Council 5 condemns any assault on our correctional workers. Members will continue reaching out to and working with public officials to make sure workers can be safe while serving the public.

AFSCME Correctional Policy Committee’s response to DOC Commissioner Roy’s press conference July 27



Statement from AFSCME Council 5’s Corrections Policy Committee:

We and our 2,000 correctional brothers and sisters from across Minnesota have spent the past week and a half mourning the loss of our fallen brother, correctional officer Joseph Gomm. We send our condolences to his mother, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and friends. We will hold Joe and his wicked sense of humor, his great sense of integrity and his commitment to our mission close in our hearts.

We want to thank all of the correctional workers, other law enforcement officers and the communities who helped us through this past week. We greatly appreciate the outpouring of love and support for Joe and our correctional family.

We will not let Joseph Gomm die in vain. We want to ensure that every person who works in corrections can come home safely, and that we can keep our institutions and communities safe.

Although the Department of Corrections has communicated during this time of mourning, they have not communicated with us about the safety measures presented today nor given us an opportunity to work with them to find solutions.

We have several policy issues that we will be demanding get resolved. We have dangerously low numbers of correctional officers, levels that are far worse than the statistics reported by DOC today. This is unacceptable.

Officers are not given all the equipment they need to safely do their jobs, and that also must be addressed.

After years of asking legislators for enough funding to do our jobs safely, we are demanding bipartisan support, communication and collaboration from the Department and all levels of state government to provide us with the adequate level of correctional officers, tools, resources and policies we need to do our job and to keep our institutions and the public safe.

John C. Hillyard, president

Jeff Vars

Dan Gorman

Sam Marks

Sam Moore

Anthony Pietrzak

Cami Basta

Jim Barbo

Glenn Lisowy

Chris Bengston

Rick Neyssen

Gerald Firkus

Tim Danger

Derek Magle

Chris Wendover

Anna Koktan

Tim Matson

Eric Jacobson

A Tragic Loss



CONTACT: Lynette Kalsnes, 651-287-0537                    

Stillwater, MN — AFSCME Council 5 grieves the loss of corrections worker Joseph Gromm

We are grieving the tragic loss of Brother Joseph Gomm. Our hearts are heavy for his family, friends and co-workers.

We offer our deepest sympathy and unconditional support to all who were touched by this wonderful man.

We ask that everyone cherish their lives every day.

UPDATE: July 19, 2018, 1:18 PM

AFSCME Council 5 recognizes short staffing in our correctional facilities.

We have lobbied the Legislature for increased staffing and funding to help alleviate these shortages only to have them voted down by politicians who do not support the safety and security of our Correctional Staff.

We will continue to advocate for more staff to ensure the safety of our members and the public.

AFSCME Council 5 president Judy Wahlberg
AFSCME Council 5 president Judy Wahlberg

Statement: America Needs Unions Now More than Ever


The Supreme Court decision on Janus v. AFSCME is a rallying point to unrig the economy.

AFSCME Endorses Tina Smith for U.S. Senator


“Tina is a proven champion for working families."

AFSCME Endorses Erin Murphy for Governor


One of the state’s largest and most politically active unions – AFSCME Minnesota Council 5 – today announced its endorsement of state Rep. Erin Murphy as its candidate for Governor.

After holding months of one-on-one conversations with members to find out what qualities they most want in a Governor, the AFSCME Council 5 Executive Board on April 19 interviewed three well-qualified candidates to become our next Governor: state Rep. Erin Murphy, State Auditor Rebecca Otto and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz.

The Board representing Council 5 members on Thursday endorsed Erin as the candidate who most shares our values, and has the best plan to win in November.

“Erin Murphy has a strong record of supporting workers, our families and our rights,” says AFSCME executive director John P. Westmoreland. “We’re confident Erin will stand up to the billionaires and corporate CEOs trying to take away our freedom to negotiate a fair return on our work and trying to silence the power of workers’ collective voices.”

 “Erin believes in public service and knows that workers are the ones who make our cities, counties and state run well and provide our great quality of life here in Minnesota,” says AFSCME Council 5 president Judy Wahlberg. “She will listen to workers and make sure our crucial public services are funded, rather than focus on giving tax breaks to the rich and to big corporations who are trying to take away workers’ rights.”

"The people of AFSCME are working hard every day to build Minnesota's future," Erin Murphy says. "To have earned the support of this mighty force is testament to our belief in one another and what we can accomplish when we stand together and fight for working people. To me, as a person of labor, it is deeply satisfying, and I am ready to fight for all of us."

AFSCME Council 5 endorsed Erin after an intensive process of gathering input from members. AFSCME spent two months meeting with union locals across the state to determine what traits and values are most important in a Governor; had one-on-one conversations with members; and gave members a chance to meet informally with candidates in small groups in several cities. These conversations informed the candidates’ questionnaire and AFSCME’s legislative priorities this session, and they ultimately guided the Board’s endorsement decision.

State Rep. Erin Murphy is a nurse and former lobbyist, organizer and executive director of the Minnesota Nurses Association. She serves on the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee, and the Ways and Means Committee. She’s former Majority Leader of the Minnesota House.

AFSCME Council 5 is a union of 43,000 workers who advocate for excellence in services for the public, dignity in the workplace, and opportunity and prosperity for all workers. 

Hennepin County Workers to Rally at Government Center May 7



Hundreds of Hennepin County workers will rally at the Government Center Monday, May 7, to kick off their contract negotiations.

Together, members of these Council 5 locals represent more than 4,200 AFSCME members who provide services impacting every resident of Hennepin County. The county workers make up Minnesota’s second-largest AFSCME group.

What’s so unusual and so powerful about their bargaining process is that six AFSCME locals in Hennepin County bargain together: Locals 34, 552, 1719, 2822, 2864 and 2938. The combined strength of their voices helps amplify their ability to improve wages and working conditions.

“Hennepin County has always wanted to be the employer of choice,” says Patrick Guernsey, president of Local 552 and head of the Hennepin County Policy Committee. “There are many ways we can work together to maintain that.”

Changes the county could make to ensure it keeps attracting new workers include offering the same amount of paid parental leave as the state and private sector, moving from three weeks to six weeks, Guernsey says. Another change is allowing newer workers who initially opted for PTO (paid time off) to switch to earning separate sick and vacation time. Workers in three locals that have AFSCME dental plans want to ensure they keep them.

Workers will rally right after presenting their first contract proposal to administrators on Monday,
May 7. Expect to see lots of AFSCME green swarming the plaza, presenting great opportunities for B-roll and sound.

WHAT: AFSCME Council 5 members rally to kick off their contract campaign with the theme, “United We Bargain, Divided We Beg!”

WHO: Hundreds of workers who are members of six different AFSCME Council 5 locals

WHEN: Monday, May 7, from noon to 1 p.m.

WHERE: Hennepin County Government Center, North Plaza, 300 S. 6th St., Minneapolis


AFSCME Council 5, Council 65 Endorse Democrat Angie Craig for U.S. House District 2


Two unions representing nearly 60,000 workers – AFSCME Council 5 and Council 65 – have jointly endorsed Democrat Angie Craig for election in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District.

“AFSCME Council 5 is proud to endorse Angie Craig, who will fight side by side with us to make sure we have the freedom to organize, collectively bargain and stand up for our rights,” says John P. Westmoreland, Council 5’s executive director. “Angie will fight to stop the assault on workers and do everything she can to provide people with the freedom and opportunity to join the middle class.”

“AFSCME Council 65 is proud to endorse Angie, who is running to build an even better Minnesota for all of us,” says Serena Vergin, Council 65’s executive director. “She’ll fight for our freedom as workers to organize, collectively bargain and stand up so we can improve life for ourselves, our families and our communities across Minnesota.”

“I’m voting for Angie because she’s smart, hardworking, listens to the people in our district and understands what working class folks are up against," says AFSCME retiree Kathleen Farber. “Angie wants to fix our health care system, protect our pensions and make sure our economy works for everyone, not just the wealthiest 1 percent."

AFSCME Council 5 is a union of 43,000 public and non-profit workers throughout Minnesota. AFSCME Council 65 represents 14,000 workers in Minnesota and South Dakota with more than 300 locals. AFSCME advocates for excellence in public services, dignity in the workplace, and opportunity and prosperity for all working families.

AFSCME Members Stand up for Freedom at Day on the Hill and to End Rigged System



CONTACT: Lynette Kalsnes, 651-287-0537                     

AFSCME Members Stand up for Freedom at Day on the Hill and to End Rigged System

SAINT PAUL — Members of AFSCME Council 5 will pack the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday, March 20 to stand up for their freedom to form strong unions and their freedom to speak up for themselves, their families and their communities.