MN Government Workers Demand Action on Contracts
Friday, May 13, 2022
Minnesota's legislative session is scheduled to end in less than two weeks, and government workers are still seeking final approval of their latest contract.
The labor agreements, which affect tens of thousands of state workers, include a 2.5% pay raise retroactive to July 1 of last year.
Megan Dayton, statewide president of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, said with the House already approving the agreements, it is time for the Senate to do its part. At a Thursday news conference, Dayton argued failure to do so would amount to a pay cut for those who have helped keep the state running during the pandemic.
"We've heard how they served our state's veterans and provided health care to hundreds of thousands of other Minnesotans," Dayton outlined. "We've heard how they continue to provide educational services to students throughout the state."
Dayton added funds have already been allocated for the extra pay. House approval of the contracts included bipartisan support, but they have yet to get a hearing in the Senate. Union leaders acknowledged there are positive signs from the upper chamber, and Senate GOP leaders have hinted a vote is possible.
Mary Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, said state government has a good reputation for how it is run, but she contended elected officials are moving too slowly to recognize the sentiment.
"This contract is a year overdue; it should have been settled a year ago," Turner asserted. "Minnesota as an employer, right now, is a little bit lacking, and they need to make it right."
Most of the revised deals would run through the current two-year state budget adopted last year. State budget officials have noted the contracts were bargained in good faith, and the extra compensation is below some private-sector increases. The deadline for the current session is May 23.
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