Julie Bleyhl has been named Executive Director of AFSCME Council 5 having served as the interim Executive Director since September 25, 2019. Bleyhl previously served as AFSCME Council 5’s legislative director, a position she held from 1994 to 2019
Bleyhl has over 35 years of experience at the Capitol and workplaces on behalf of working families. First at the Minnesota Farmer’s Union and then Council 5, becoming Legislative Director in 1994. When Minnesota’s AFSCME Council 6 and Council 14 merged in 2005, Bleyhl became the legislative director of the newly-formed AFSCME Council 5.
During her time at AFSCME, she has passed significant legislation to protect the defined-benefit pensions of over 500,000 public employees and retirees, expanded collective bargaining, fought back against harmful privatization initiatives, fought for critical investments for local governments and safe staffing at all of our state agencies.
“Our union is diverse, strong, and well-positioned to fight against corporate greed and to fight for the rights of working people to collectively bargain over their wages, hours, working conditions and benefits. In order to do this effectively, we as a union must remain on the cutting edge of technology, organizing tactics and strategies and truly represent all members of our union. We can achieve great things as a union family, but we can only do it if we do it together, with a common goal and a clear vision. I remain committed to leading our union that is driven by members,” Bleyhl stated.
Bleyhl also served on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents from 1993-1999, the Minnesota State University Board from 1989-1992, taught university-level courses, and served as the Director of Legislative Services for the Minnesota Farmer’s Union from 1984-1993 during the height of the farm crisis.
Bleyhl has received numerous commendations and awards for her many decades of working on behalf of working families and issues she cares deeply about, including the Pioneer Public TV Service Award, Minnesota Farmer’s Union Distinguished Service with Excellence in Membership and Policy Award, Southwest State University Distinguished Alumni Award, and many more.