MMA Attends the 2015 Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Dinner

On Thursday, MMA Board and staff attended the 28th annual Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship dinner. MMA has been a supporter of this scholarship program and was happy to continue that support this year.

Kathy Hanson, MMA President and Karen Wagner, MMA former President

Kathy Hanson, MMA President, Karen Wagner, MMA former President and Joan Berning MMA Board member

Nellie Stone Johnson was the first black woman to be elected to a citywide position in Minneapolis. She was also a long-time member of the Minnesota State University Board, a tireless union supporter and a DFL activist.

This year 29 scholarships were awarded to students attending colleges and universities around the state. Several of the award recipients were present to accept their award, including Zina Fizer a student from Metropolitan State University who spoke about her experiences and the importance of earning a degree and this scholarship opportunity. Fizer is graduating this spring and plans to continue on to get her Master’s Degree.

The keynote was given by Hubert “Buck” Humphrey, who shared his stories of meeting Nellie Stone Johnson and the influence she had on his life. Chancellor Rosenstone greeted the attendees and discussed the importance of these scholarships as well as Nellie Stone’s work. Mitch Franklin, Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Program Board and Shar Knutson, President of MN AFL-CIO also greeted guests. Next year’s scholarship dinner will be held on March 24, 2016.

Applications are still being accepted for the 2015-2016 academic year. The Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship is available to minority students from union families attending or planning to attend one of MnSCU’s 31 technical colleges, community colleges or state universities. If you are interested in applying call 651-738-1404 or 866-738-5238 or visit the Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship website.

Contract Negotiations Update

The appointments to the MMA Negotiations Team for the 2015-2017 MMA contract have been finalized.

The MMA Executive Committee approved the following supervisors to represent MMA members at this year’s contract negotiations:

Lyla Burkman, Health
Jeff Cassidy, Transportation
Bruce Daniel, Transportation
Randy Gordon, Human Services
Dean Hagen, Corrections
Kathy Hanson, Labor & Industry
Lonnie Lilly, Natural Resources
Jim Manson, Revenue
Kevin Monio, Corrections
Peter O’Grady, MnSCU
Michael Parker, Public Safety
Mark Parsley, MnSCU
James Pointer, Natural Resources
Rob Rose, Human Services
Shelly Siegel, MnSCU
Lance Voegele-Allore, Human Services

Gary Kloos, Robyn Cousin, My Lee and MMA Attorneys Ron Rollins, Zaidee Martin and Joel Button will provide staff support to the Negotiations Team. Read Full Article

Nellie Stone Johnson Upcoming Activities

Nellie Stone Johnson Capitol Statue Initiative

The 2014 Legislature and the Governor authorized placing a statue of Nellie Stone Johnson, a nationally-renowned labor and civil rights leader, in a prominent spot in the Capitol. However, $30,000 must be raised to match the amount appropriated by the legislature to make this dream a reality. The Nellie Stone Johnson Statue Committee is half way there thanks in part to a contribution of $3000 from MMA which has joined the campaign.

This will be an opportunity to permanently remind Capitol visitors’, including school children, of the important role labor has played in our state. Nellie Stone Johnson is an excellent choice as she represents many ‘firsts’

  • First prominent labor leader
  • First woman activist/leader
  • First education leader
  • First Minnesota-born African American civil rights leader

MMA is proud to be a sponsor and contributor to what will be a permanent reminder of the important role of labor to the health and vitality of our state.

MMA and its Beginning: Victories Snatched from the Jaws of Defeat

Part 1 The Prequel

In 1979 Middle Management Association, MMA, was a small Department of Transportation Local representing about 200 supervisors.  MMA had bargained one prior contract with the State and was in the midst of bargaining for a 1979-1981 collective bargaining agreement. Bargaining had not gone well and MMA had hired a Labor Relations Attorney to help them.  Having been unsuccessful in reaching a voluntary agreement with the State, MMA exercised its right to request arbitration of its contract dispute.

Arbitrator Tom Gallagher was selected to hear and decide the dispute and a hearing date was set for May 3, 1979.  A couple weeks before the date of the hearing MMA’s labor relations attorney informed them that he now had a conflict of interest and that he could not represent MMA in the upcoming arbitration hearing.  At that point MMA found me and I agreed to help.

I met with the MMA Bargaining Committee, which included Gene Aune, Jim Maas and Jeanne Chasteen, and others whose names I can’t now recall, to prepare the case. Although there were several unresolved issues, it was clear that the biggest issue by far was wages. Read Full Article

MMA and Its Beginnings: Victories Snatched From the Jaws of Defeat (continued)


Part 2: Friday Night Fights

The first installment of MMA’s history discussed MMA MN/DOT’s beginnings and its arbitration victory on wages in resolving its 1979-81 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the State. The year 1979 turned out to be a tumultuous one for State labor relations. Coming into the year, the State negotiated and administered 33 collective bargaining agreements covering 116 bargaining units involving 20 different unions, MMA being but one small union in that big picture. As would typically occur, AFSCME, which represented by far the largest number of employees, settled first, in March, 1979, with general wage increases for its 1979-81 contract totaling about 14% over the two years. (Recall that these were the years where inflation, and thus all other rates, were running very high. Mortgage rates, for example, were 11% in May 1979 and peaked at 18% in October 1981). Read Full Article

MMA Joins the Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Board

MMA is pleased to announce that Robyn Cousin, MMA business representative, has joined the Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Board.

The Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship was created in honor of Nellie Stone Johnson, known and recognized for her pioneering work in the labor movement in Minnesota. Nellie had a long and distinguished record of public service in support of the advancement of minority concerns, the rights of workers, and equal opportunities for all people. Her life was a series of “firsts.” Read Full Article