ST. PAUL – The two largest unions of state employees struck new deals early Thursday, July 22 with negotiators in Gov. Tim Walz’s administration, putting thousands of workers in place for raises and new paid leave .
The Minnesota Department of Management and Budget (MMB) confirmed that both agreements were finalized around 2:30 a.m. They cover most of the state’s workforce and are subject to ratification votes by the rank and file as well as by the legislature.
MMB said all details are confidential at this time.
But unions say the two agreements provide for base pay increases of 2.5 percent in each of the next two years, keep employees’ share of health care premiums stable, and would add Juneteenth as a new paid holiday. .
Council 5 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has more than 18,000 members who serve in office positions, correctional facilities, maintenance roles, and road crews.
The Minnesota Professional Employees Association (MAPE) represents approximately 15,000 members, including forensic pathologists, health epidemiologists, computer technicians and therapists.
AFSCME executive director Julie Bleyhl said additional elements of the contract would increase compensation for employees injured on the job. She said the agreements recognize the contribution of workers “essential to our state (by) continuing to work during the pandemic and (who) are essential to our united recovery and to shaping our new future rooted in the life of the working class” .
MAPE said in a statement that the contributions of its members are felt on a daily basis.
“This contract is a step in the right direction, but we know we still have a long way to go,” the union said. “To continue this journey, we will build on what has worked – partnering on key priorities, being radically transparent, listening and amplifying members’ voices, and engaging with those in power to ensure that our state and our state government are the best they can be. “
The agreements will be voted on by members over the next six weeks. Then a joint House-Senate panel will consider whether to give them provisional ratification before a full legislature vote next year.