State Contracts Approved

Local 22 member Jacqueline Terry of the state Department of Employment and Economic Development is among the thousands of state workers who will get raises, after the Legislature passed their contracts Monday. Terry helped push for passage of these contracts at Day on the Hill on March 20.
Local 22 member Jacqueline Terry of the state Department of Employment and Economic Development is among the thousands of state workers who will get raises, after the Legislature passed their contracts Monday. Terry helped push for passage of these contracts at Day on the Hill on March 20.

The Minnesota Legislature has just approved contracts for state public workers.

Both chambers overwhelmingly approved the two-year deals Monday, March 26: The Senate by a vote of 56-10 and the House by a vote of 93-33. Gov. Dayton is expected to sign the contracts, which his administration negotiated.

About 30,000 public workers will get a 2 percent raise retroactive to July 1, 2017; and 2.25 percent on July 1, 2018; plus step increases both years. Those workers include the AFSCME Council 5 multi-unit, Unit 8 (corrections) and Unit 25 (radio communication operators).

The contract not only holds the line on health insurance costs for workers, it improves health and dental benefits; includes a pilot program for people with diabetes; and offers six weeks of paid parental leave to bond with newborn and adopted children.

Last fall, the contracts stalled after Republicans on the SER (Subcommittee on Employee Relations) recommended the full Legislature reject the multi-unit contracts as being too expensive.

The Senate also approved a plan 66-0 on Monday to make public employee pensions sustainable for decades through shared sacrifice and responsibility by the employer, workers and retirees; the House did not take action.

The Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner warned in a recent hearing that delaying full funding for pensions could hurt the state’s bond ratings, and will cost more in the long-run.