Testimony of Polly Peterson

Testimony of Polly Peterson, Treasurer of AFSCME 3800
Board of Regents Public Forum on the University Budget
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
My name is Polly Peterson and I am a clerical worker in the Office of Human Resources. I am proud of the work I do in the HR Contact Center making sure that employees get paid correctly and helping Minnesotans find careers at the University of Minnesota. I give each person the time they need to understand what is necessary to be successful at applying for jobs at the University.
AFSCME Local 3800 surveyed our members to find out the critical functions they provide to the University of Minnesota and I would like to share only a very small sample of 3 of the inspiring answers we received.
1) “I help a faculty member by doing an administrative function for them that allows them to keep doing their important teaching and research without getting bogged down with paperwork and the policy and procedural know-how that is needed to carry out these administrative functions properly. It's a win-win-win; for the faculty member, the department and the University.”
2) “My work supports a program whose mission is to help kids be successful at getting into and completing some form of postsecondary education. We are directly involved in working to provide "a strong and diverse community of learners and teachers..." at the University of Minnesota and elsewhere. By managing the administrative details of my program and providing administrative support to my team members, I am helping the University of Minnesota be a strong leader in closing the achievement gap in Minnesota.”
3) “The National Study I am a part of is the first of its kind in this country, and second in the world to study heart disease in Ethnic cultures. I am bilingual and multicultural. I have been the data manager for 13 years and events coordinator for 11 years and am responsible for protecting and ensuring the privacy of our 1065 participants all of whom are residents of Minnesota. The MN cohort is one of six throughout the United States. This study has already made a great impact on the way the medical field looks at heart disease in ethnic populations, and has raised awareness for the majority population in the state of Minnesota. It raised the profile of the University of Minnesota nationally and internationally. “
These are only a few of the stories of our staff members’ work to support the land grant mission of the University of Minnesota in teaching, research and community engagement. We hold up the massive work that IS the University of Minnesota and our numbers have been falling while our work loads have doubled in many cases. Please do what is right and give clerical workers and other staff the respect and wage increases they deserve.