MMA would like to welcome and introduce one of our new Board Members, Heidi Reller. Heidi is a Minnesota Care Enrollment Supervisor for the Department of Human Services in Brainerd. She has been with the State for 5 years.
Heidi joins the Board with a breadth of experiences in labor organizing and leadership. As a long standing member of AFSCME, she acted as the President of AFSCME Local 1349 and before that, the Vice President and Chief Steward. She has participated in organizing events including the Volunteer Member Organizing in Louisiana, Day on the Hill, and door knocking. Additionally, she has worked the Crow Wing County Fair booth for AFLCIO & Brainerd Lakes Trades and Labor and has helped phone bank and lead face to face conversations with members in and outside of her local.
Heidi wanted to become a Board member so she could be a voice for MMA members she works with. She notes, “I understand the importance of being an active member, working with other members inside our union as well as building relationships with different unions, both public and private. Unions are important to the labor movement; regardless of our class or titles we share common values and need to remain united to protect these values.”
In terms of the work MMA is doing, she believes MMA is gaining momentum with increasing its full membership ratio but there is room for growth. She notes MMA is on the right track by offering incentives like professional development. Heidi is also looking forward to growth in communication, as she values the importance of highlighting the benefits of being a full member of MMA and part of a union as a whole. “Many people don't recognize that it takes years/decades to build and negotiate benefits within a contract but only days and months to lose those benefits,” Heidi says, “Once something is taken away it takes years/decades to get them back.”
In her spare time, it is important for Heidi to spend time with family and friends. She adds, “My mom comes from a family of 18 and my dad comes from a family of 11. There is rarely a month in which I do not have some sort of gathering to attend. But I wouldn't have it any other way.”