Members of AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and MAPE, the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, are set to vote on a new contract with the State of Minnesota.
MAPE members vote Aug. 2-14. AFSCME members vote Aug. 7-11. Both unions represent workers across the state.
On July 28, the AFSCME Council 5 State Delegate Assembly voted unanimously to recommend approval of the proposed state contract. There was high enthusiasm as the tentative agreement was explained to delegates, with many delegates clapping and even cheering about various points of the contract, according to the union’s website.
The TA for state employees includes a 2 percent raise this year, 2.25 percent next year, and steps both years. Employees with annual step increases could see their pay go up by 9.25 percent by the end of the two-year deal. The TA not only holds the line on health insurance cost increases, it improves benefits.
Council 5 executive director Eliot Seide told delegates it’s essential that members vote in big numbers to pressure the Legislature to approve the contract.
“We have a really good contract, but the one thing that can stop this is the Minnesota Legislature and the Subcommittee on Employee Relations,” Seide says. “We need a big turnout. We’re sending a message to legislators that we are the state employees of the state of Minnesota. We do Minnesota’s Work. This state doesn’t operate without us. We demand they do their job!”
The TA improves improved dental benefits, dramatically lowers the cost of diabetes treatment and guarantees six weeks of paid parental leave in the contract. It also boosts injured-on-duty pay from 240 hours to 300 hours, and allows open enrollment for short-term disability.
Local 4001 member Susan Cation, who works at St. Cloud Technical Community College in maintenance, says the pay raise will help.
“Families are struggling,” Cation says. “We’re lucky we’re part of a strong union. There’s a lot of others who don’t have the same benefits we do.”
The proposed contract covers 15,504 AFSCME workers in Unit 2 (craft and maintenance), Unit 3 (service), Unit 4 (health care), Unit 6 (clerical) and Unit 7 (technical) of the executive branch. The health insurance covers 18,337 AFSCME workers, including Units 8 (corrections) and 25 (radio communications).
On June 23, MAPE’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to send the tentative contract agreement to membership for a vote with a recommendation to approve it. The union has been holding meetings across the state to brief MAPE members on the details.
“Health care costs are escalating nationwide, but MAPE successfully prioritized keeping a lid on rising health care costs for our members,” the union said on its website. “We achieved many other significant accomplishments, such as including paid parental leave in our contract so members will now have a say in how it’s negotiated, as well as an open enrollment period for short-term disability.
“Thousands of members told us they were interested in career development and advancement paths and we made great strides in partnering with Minnesota Management and Budget on professional development for state employees.”