The Minnesota Senate and House on Monday approved new contracts that 10 state employee unions negotiated with the Dayton administration last year, and two area lawmakers say it’s about time.
North Mankato State Representative Clark Johnson said, “After a long, long wait we finally passed the contracts out of the House and it’s headed for the governor. That’s the AFSCME contract, the MAPE contract, the IFO contract. There’s been no excuse for the delay but at least it’s done now.”
Mankato State Representative Jack Considine echoed that sentiment, and added, “That is just disturbing that they, again, played a game with it. You have 33,000 people that were on edge waiting to get their contracts that were negotiated, and were negotiated in an adversarial manner.”
Workers would get a two-percent increase retroactive to July 1st 2017 and an additional 2.25 percent effective this July. Considine said there was give and take, and the unions agreed to changes in their healthcare coverage that will save the state money.
Earlier some Republicans had proposed changes to the contracts – even though the rules say lawmakers can only vote yes or no on those contracts and cannot change them – and Considine said it was “union-busting language.”
“Some of the contracts had gone to arbitration, so they not only had been negotiated but they had gone to arbitration before we saw them. Despite the rules, they tacked on an amendment initially; that was just a disgraceful process,” he stated.
Governor Mark Dayton is expected to sign the bill.