Legislative subcommittee recommends approval of MAPE’s contract, four others
House, Senate hearings on MAPE's contract Wednesday, Thursday
|On the left in above photo, SER Chair Leon Lillie (DFL – North St. Paul) led Monday's hearing on state employee contracts.|
|In the above photo on the left, Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL -- Golden Valley) questioned the state negotiating representative about the $65 million in wages lost by state employees during the three-week shutdown. Rep. Debra Hilstrom (right, DFL -- Brooklyn Center) reviewed state employee contract information.|
|Audience observed Monday's SER hearing on state employee contracts.|
What a difference an election makes.
Late Monday afternoon, Chair Leon Lillie (DFL – North St. Paul) led the Legislative Subcommittee on Employee Relations (SER) as the subcommittee recommended approval of MAPE and AFSCME’s contracts, along with three additional state employee contracts and two compensation plans.
Then Wednesday, the House will hold its first committee hearing on the MAPE contract bill, House File 95 authored by Rep. Lillie in Labor, Workplace and Regulated Industries Committee, at 8:15 a.m. in the basement hearing room at the State Office Building. The Senate's Committee on State and Local Government will hear the MAPE contract bill, Senate File 58 authored by Senator Chris Eaton (DFL – Brooklyn Center), at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Room 123, State Capitol. On Thursday, Eaton's bill will be heard at the State Departments and Veterans Divisions at 3 p.m. in room 107 of the Capitol.
“Today’s hearing was a nice change from the past two years – rather than trying to score political points by holding up our contract, the new leadership on the subcommittee recommended approval of MAPE’s 2011-2013 contract,” said MAPE’s Public Affairs and Communications Director Richard Kolodziejski. “MAPE members were treated with the dignity and respect they deserve for the hard work they do for the people of Minnesota.”
Voters returned the DFL to the majority in both houses of the Minnesota Legislature in November. Since the Legislature is in session, both houses must approve the contracts before they are implemented.
Bills to approve MAPE and AFSCME Council 5’s contracts were introduced in both the Senate and the House on Jan. 17. The agreements call for 2 percent across-the-board increases retroactive to Jan. 2. In addition to considering MAPE and AFSCME’s contracts, SER recommended approval of contracts for Middle Management Association, State Residential School Education Association and AFSCME Correctional Officers, and two compensation plans – commissioners and managerial plans.
The five state employee contracts were recommended for approval by a 6-3 vote along party lines, as were the commissioners and managerial plans. Six DFL members voted to recommend approval, while three Republican members voted against.
Voting in favor of the agreements were DFL members: Rep. Lillie, Rep. Ryan Winkler (Golden Valley), Rep. Debra Hilstrom (Brooklyn Center), Senator Chris Eaton (Brooklyn Center), Senator Tom Saxhaug (Grand Rapids) and Senator Jim Metzen (South St. Paul). Voting against the agreements were Republicans: Senator Roger Chamberlain (Lino Lakes), Senator Michelle Benson (Ham Lake) and Rep. Steve Drazkowski (Mazeppa). Republican Rep. Joyce Peppin (Rogers) was absent.
Last August, the GOP legislative majorities recommended rejection of the MAPE and AFSCME contracts when they were considered by the subcommittee. After two contentious hearings, the GOP majorities recommended rejection of the MAPE and AFSCME agreements 6-4 along party lines, with all the votes against the contracts coming from Republican members, and all the votes for passage of the contracts supplied by DFLers.
Once again, Republican members of the SER used the hearing on Monday to criticize the labor agreements for the 2 percent cost-of-living increase effective for just the final six months of the contracts. They also said state employees should pick up more of the cost of health care.
Both Lillie and Metzen characterized the increases as “modest.” Under questioning from Winkler, Chief Employer Negotiator Barb Holmes said that the three-week state government shutdown that idled 19,000 state workers had cost them $65 million in wages. She said the 2 percent raise doesn’t come close to compensating laid off state employees for the wages they lost. The three-week shutdown came when the Republicans held legislative majorities in both houses.
The bill approving MAPE's contract in the House can be viewed here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H0095.0.html&session=ls88Here are the House authors, Representatives:Leon Lillie, Erin Murphy, Ryan Winkler, Debra Hilstrom, Mary Murphy, Michael NelsonandSheldon Johnson.
The bill approving MAPE's contract in the Senate and the authors can be viewed here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S0058.0.html&session=ls88Here are the Senate authors, Senators:Chris Eaton,Thomas Bakk, Tom Saxhaug, John Hoffmanand James Metzen.
To write members of the committees considering approval asking them to pass the MAPE contract, please see this week’s Legislative Update: www.mape.org/teammape/news/team-mape-legislative-update-january-22nd-2013