Grassroots Lobby Alert


May 8, 2018: Protect Kids by Investing in Child Protection and Foster Care!

AFSCME’s child protection workers are facing big caseloads, high turnover and staffing shortages due to some well-intentioned legislative reforms. These surging caseloads have led to a shortfall of shelter space and foster homes for kids. Workers’ biggest fear is a child coming to harm because we don’t have the needed time or resources to protect them.

The Legislature set aside money three years ago to help counties hire more workers, but it wasn’t enough to lower caseloads, and it didn’t include money for training.

The Legislature must invest more in child protection and foster care. That investment would give workers the freedom and ability to intervene earlier and provide higher quality care. Providing proper training would help retain workers, boost morale and decrease caseloads. Minnesota’s children would be safer and better served.

Text KIDS to 237263 to be connected to your state legislators, or call your senator at 1-855-420-7709 and your representative at 1-855-432-4270.


  • Help counties hire, train and retain child protection workers (Support House File 2996 and Senate File 2979).
  • Direct the Department of Human Services to recommend caseload standards for screeners, investigators and caseworkers.
  • Fund adequate staffing to respond to reports of abuse in the time required by law.

April 24, 2018: Push for Retirement Security Now!

We’ve never come this close to a comprehensive reform of our pension plans that will ensure a dignified retirement for state public workers for decades to come.

The state Senate already has passed the Omnibus Retirement Bill by a vote of 66-0. It’s got strong bipartisan support: The Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement that created the bill passed it unanimously, with both Republicans and Democrats approving it.

AFSCME Council 5 and our fellow unions are in full support. The plan will require shared sacrifice from everyone - including the state, employer, employee and retiree. But it will fully fund our pension plans within 30 years, and immediately cut unfunded pension liability by $3.4 billion!

House Speaker Kurt Daudt and other Republicans leaders in the House are the only ones standing in the way of a secure retirement for 500,000 state public workers and retirees. They’ve had it stuck in House committee since Feb. 26.

The pension plan is a smart deal that took three years of hard work by everyone. Waiting will just cost more. Let’s do our best to get the House to do the right thing for workers, our retirees and our state.

Text PENSIONS to 237263 or call your representative at 1-855-790-8847.

Please also call Speaker Kurt Daudt at 1-858-314-3518.


  • Pass HF 3053 as introduced, the same pension bill the Senate already passed unanimously.
  • Make sure they budget for the entire pension package, an essential part of making this work.

April 10, 2018: Invest in the Work We Do

We’re proud that Minnesota cities and counties get high marks for livability. That happens because we do the work that makes people want to live, work and raise a family here.

But it’s hard to keep delivering these world-class services when Republican majorities in the House and Senate give tax cuts to corporate CEOs and the wealthiest 1 percent instead of investing in our state. They’re making state employees do more - and work even harder - with less.

At the same time, they’re scheming to take away working people’s freedom to get ahead by passing anti-worker laws that would rig the rules against us and silence our voices.

Fortunately, our state has a budget surplus, thanks to Gov. Dayton’s work to invest in a better Minnesota for all of us, not just a select few. We are asking the Legislature to work with him and give workers the freedom to get ahead, and to invest in the great work we do instead of trying to take away our rights.

We need $15 million of ongoing, permanent funding for Local Government Aid and County Program Aid to make sure that everyone across our state gets vital city and county services like police and fire protection, parks and libraries. This aid prevents local government layoffs and holds down property taxes. We need the state to invest in construction projects that improve the safety of public facilities: Everyone deserves to work in a safe environment.

Text INVEST to 237263 to be connected to your state legislators, or call your senator at 1-888-833-9154 and your representative at 1-888-440-2111.

Ask your legislators to:

  • Support Gov. Dayton’s budget to reinvest in the work we do and in the communities where we live.
  • Oppose tax breaks for billionaires and big businesses who are trying to rig the rules against working people.

March 27, 2018: Fix Transportation Now

If we want to grow our economy and ensure all Minnesota families have the freedom to prosper, we must invest in our crumbling infrastructure. Half of our roads and bridges are in poor condition, with dangerous potholes.

While Minnesota's infrastructure has aged and crumbled, MnDOT has 500 fewer designers, inspectors and maintenance workers than it did a decade ago. This shrinking workforce makes it impossible to keep up.

We know that having adequate staffing would save millions of taxpayer dollars by increasing efficiency and lowering costs. It would make our roads and bridges safer. Outsourcing costs more, and it creates an accountability problem: Who wants the fox guarding the hen house?

AFSCME Council 5 supports new revenue for transportation maintenance, inspection and design.

Text MOVE to 237263 to be connected with your state legislators, or call your senator at 1-877-201-9067 and your representative at 1-888-907-2053.

Ask your legislators to:

  • Budget for investment in our infrastructure and the workers who maintain, design and inspect it. There is no federal funding for plowing snow, patching potholes or inspecting bridges.
  • Dedicate new revenue for a 10-year plan to fix crumbling roads and bridges, expand access to transit, and create safer bike and pedestrian routes in communities across the state.

March 6, 2018: Protect Retirement Security

The Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement has posted a draft of its pension bill along with a staff memo summarizing the bill. It will be heard at 5:30 p.m. tonight in Room 1200 of the Minnesota Senate Building. Public testimony will be taken.

AFSCME Council 5 and our fellow unions are in full support – if the bill passes as introduced.

This bill would fully fund our state pension plans within 30 years and immediately cut unfunded pension liability by $3.4 billion!

We’re willing to sacrifice together to ensure public workers get the secure retirements they’ve earned. But it’s only fair (and effective) if that sacrifice is shared by workers, retirees and the employer.

The bill would:

  • Increase the employer and employee contribution. For example, for the MSRS General Plan, the employer share goes up by 0.375 percent a year for the next two years and the employee contribution by 0.25 percent a year.
  • Slightly reduce COLAs.
  • Drop the investment return assumption for all the plans to 7.5 percent.

Please call commission members right away. Tell them to support SF 2620/HF3053 as introduced and to increase state pension funding, an essential part of making this work.

Senate members: Chair Julie Rosen (651-296-5713), Sandy Pappas (651-296-1802), Gary Dahms (651-296-8138), John Jasinski (651-296-0284), Warren Limmer (651-296-2159) and David Senjem (651-296-3903). 

House members: Vice Chair Tim O’Driscoll (651-296-7808), Tony Albright (651-296-5185), Sarah Anderson (651-296-5511), Roz Peterson (651-296-5387), Bob Vogel (651-296-7065), Mary Murphy (651-296-2676) and Paul Thissen (651-296-5375). 

February 20, 2018: Freedom to Join Together in Strong Unions

Minnesota lawmakers head back to the State Capitol today to start the 2018 legislative session. 

One of the first items on their agenda should be approval of all state employee contacts, including those covering AFSCME multi-unit workers, correctional officers (Unit 8) and radio control operators (Unit 25).  Legislators have no business funding their own salaries unless they approve contracts negotiated for all state employees.

The same legislators who say our cost-of-living raises are too high and our benefits are too rich also want to take away our freedom to join together in strong unions. The anti-union Janus case will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 26. Anti-union forces figure that abolishing fair-share fees will drain unions of the resources workers need to advocate for their interests.  We know that if unions lose resources, workers lose power.   

Together we will continue to fight for real freedom for all workers. That means having a voice on the job, fair pay, affordable health care, time-off to care for those we love, and the promise of retirement security after a lifetime of hard work.       

Text FREEDOM to 237263 to be connected to your state legislators, or call your senator at 1-866-891-0358 and your representative at 1-877-553-0116.


Pass state employee contracts and support the freedom of all workers to join together in strong unions.

Get up-to-the-minute action alerts and updates on your phone: just text MN5 to 237263, and we'll take it from there!

Find your legislators here.