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Grill-outs, mini meets, listening help Local 801 increase membership

Local 801 President Andy Trcka credits the patio next door to the Department of Transportation as one of the reasons his local has been able to increase membership by nearly 50 percent over the past four years.

“We’re fortunate to have a little patio next to DOT so we can have grill-outs to help raise awareness of MAPE. We’re going to try to do one at Veterans Affairs soon,” Trcka promised.

He said his local has been discussing the Janus v AFSCME case at recent meetings, and Local 801 Treasurer Jessica Olson and others are planning re-commitment activities and other special events following the Janus decision.

Local 801 has also established floor captains and Secretary Lizzy Danielson has organized “mini meets,” which give small groups of workers an opportunity to exchange ideas which Trcka said “could be channeled to agency-wide Meet and Confers or elsewhere.”

The local has also “embarked on doing analytics – we’re starting to map out our floors and developing a list of our volunteers,” he added. "We're really fortunate to have an active 801 board of directors and volunteers who pitch in for a variety of tasks, large and small, which contribute to our local's success."

Trcka, who works for MNIT as a web map developer, says he “saw the value of unions” and immediately joined when he was first began working in state government 16 years ago. “I’ve always been a pro-union person – my dad was on the negotiations team for AFSCME,” he added.

A strong contract is the most appealing benefit about union membership to Trcka. “I’m in the middle demographically, between paid parental leave and retirement, and have been able to help steer union conversations.”

Trcka advises other locals to never underestimate the importance of listening to members and potential members. “We’ve found just answering questions goes a long way. We’re engineering-minded over here and establishing a known system that people can rely on goes a long way. We build roads here – people want that stability from their representation.”