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Minnesota state workers celebrate wage hikes, other provisions in new contract

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Minnesota state workers celebrate wage hikes, other provisions in new contract
By Ezra Kane-Salafia ·

Thousands of AFSCME Council 5 members have ratified a 2023-2025 state employee contract that brings sweeping improvements. The contract was negotiated by members elected by workers in their bargaining units and includes raises of more than 10% for all AFSCME-represented executive branch employees.

Beyond the across-the-board raises, dozens of job classifications won so-called “wage inequities” – raises to bring them better in line with the private sector.

“Our members fought for and won a contract with big investments in state workers. Minnesota is now better positioned to recruit and retain excellent workers,” said Bart Andersen, interim executive director of Council 5. “Minnesotans deserve fully staffed, fully funded, excellent services. This contract will make huge progress towards these goals and we will continue to use our momentum to build upon our progress.”

Members also won many other provisions that will put money directly back into the pockets of the 18,000 workers covered by the contract, which was ratified late last month.

The shift differential for overnight work has increased more than 246%, from 65 cents per hour to $2.25 per hour. Jobs that require multiple languages will receive a $50 per paycheck bilingual differential. The contract outlines pilot programs for student loan reimbursement, better reimbursement rates for travel and lump sums to keep jobs internally balanced.

“From clerical and technical workers to secure facility staff, transportation workers to general maintenance workers, the 18,000 AFSCME Council 5 state workers covered under this union contract make Minnesota happen and without them, our state would cease to function,” said Andersen. “This contract reflects how important these workers are to Minnesota and we will continue our fight.”

On top of the many provisions that will put money directly in the pockets of state workers, the members also won expansion of zero-deductible and no co-pay mental health insurance coverage and addressed many quality-of-life issues that they faced.

For example, hardworking state employees often faced arbitrary cancelation of their promised telework. The new contract acknowledges the importance of telework and requires management to provide a 14-day notice before rescinding telework, an important provision for many workers.

Workers will also receive credits to their sick leave in case of a death in the family if they don’t currently have the sick leave to cover it. The contract fixes holes in the work-boot policy, allowing additional reimbursement for boots that get destroyed or become too worn to use.

The contract, which runs through 2025, includes many other hard-won improvements and fixes. To learn more, visit:

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