Union leaders laud tentative state agreements


Leaders of AFSCME and MAPE, the unions representing 30,000 state employees, said tentative contract settlements provide much-needed raises and health insurance protections.

The agreements were reached about midnight June 29, one day before the previous two-year pacts with the state of Minnesota were set to expire. The settlements followed days of marathon negotiations at the Mall of America Ramada Inn.

AFSCME’s negotiation committee is recommending the offer be ratified by membership. MAPE’s Board of Directors will meet July 10 to decide whether to recommend ratification.

“We bargained hard for state employees,” said Eliot Seide, executive director of AFSCME Council 5 and lead negotiator for the union, which represents 19,000 state workers.

“Our members earn an average of $36,000 a year. Like most Minnesotans, our wallets are empty after a trip to the gas station and pharmacy. We’re pleased that the employer has agreed that we deserve a raise to help offset inflation.”

The pact also protects employee health insurance, Seide added. “Whenever health care costs go up, real wages suffer. With this contract, state employees will be paying $98 million for their share of health care costs. Like most Minnesotans, we can’t afford to pay more for our health care.”

Jim Monroe, executive director of MAPE, which represents 11,500 professional workers at the state, said the tentative agreement includes “an excellent compensation package.”

He added, “Our goal was to get the best possible contract for our members. We have achieved that goal.”

Details of the agreements are being withheld while information is distributed to union members. However, MAPE said the tentative agreement comes with increased health-care deductibles, copays and out-of-pocket maximums, but does eliminate additional increases in the second year of the contract in copays and out-of-pocket maximums.

AFSCME’s agreement covers five bargaining units, including service employees, health care non-professionals, technical workers, clerical/office staff as well as craft, maintenance and labor employees. Correctional officers and radio communication officers in the Department of Public Safety are negotiating separately.

AFSCME said it will count ballots in the ratification vote Aug. 6.

MAPE said ballots will be counted the first week of August. If members reject the contract offer, they will authorize the MAPE Board to call a strike.

For more information
Visit the union’s websites, www.afscmemn.org and www.mape.org