Mike Golen holds the position of Director of the Minnesota Public Employees Association (MNPEA). Founded to implement needed change in union representation, MNPEA offers public employees in Minnesota an alternative to traditional national and international unions. Prior to joining MNPEA, Mike Golen saw union members growing increasingly frustrated by having to pay high monthly dues and still falling behind economically. Many union members told Mike Golen they had failed to receive cost-of-living pay increases for a number of years.
Mike Golen also disapproved of union representatives’ practice of accepting pay raises, benefits, and other perks during an economic downturn. In Mike Golen’s opinion, union representatives’ trips to conferences around the country brought little benefit to the rank-and-file union members. Another issue leading Mike Golen to join MNPEA was members’ lack of opportunity to express meaningful input on endorsements, political agendas, and other issues affecting traditional unions.
In response to these issues, the MNPEA seeks to provide public employees with cost-effective and improved representation. Members of the MNPEA can exercise control over their representation. The organization’s Board members and business agents are held accountable to the membership, and members maintain the authority to override decisions made by the Board. This protection is built into the MNPEA’s Constitution.
In keeping with Mike Golen’s philosophy of holding costs down, membership in the MNPEA is just $39 a month. Dues remain invested in the association; no funds are routed to a regional or national organization. The MNPEA provides transparency in all of its financial dealings, including benefits, perks, and salaries.
Mike Golen’s operating philosophy also includes retaining business agents and attorneys who have more than 50 years of combined experience representing public employees. In addition, the MNPEA encourages its members, rather than the leadership, to drive political endorsements and lobbying agendas.