Many Minnesota nurses, prison guards, veterans’ officers and snow plow drivers are a bit closer to receiving their first pay increase in more than three years after a bill sponsored by State Senator Chris Eaton passed off the Senate floor on Feb. 7.
“The bill provides these important members of our community a modest 2 percent pay increase by ratifying five collective bargaining organization contracts,” Eaton said. These same contracts were rejected last August by the Republican-led Legislative Coordinating Commission’s employee relations committee.
The bill saves the state nearly $8 million by asking public employees to pay a bit more in health insurance deductibles and co-pays. In addition, the new employee contracts passed today will not cost Minnesota taxpayers a single dime. There is no new spending in this bill; state agencies must find savings within their existing budgets to pay for the state employee wage increases.
“More than 19,000 state employees lost $65 million due to the government shutdown last summer. This money will never be recouped,” Sen. Eaton said. “Ratifying this agreement is the least the legislature can do.”
Specifically, her legislation would authorize negotiated contracts, which covers the current two-year budget cycle and would be retroactive to January 2nd of this year, for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, Middle Management Association, State Residential Schools Education Association, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Correctional Officers, Unit 8.
The bill still needs to pass the House of Representatives before Governor Dayton signs it into law.
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