Governor Walz and MMB to Implement State Employee Contracts!

To be clear from the top: Our state employee contracts have been declared ratified and will be implemented, along with the 2nd year 2.5% cost of living increase beginning July 1, 2020 as we fought so hard for! 

On behalf of the 43,000 members of AFSCME Council 5, we are very pleased that Governor Walz and his Administration are standing up and fighting on behalf of nearly 50,000 public employees, many of whom are on the front lines of this global pandemic. The actions taken by Governor Walz today to move forward with implementing the now-ratified labor contracts that we negotiated in good faith shows his strong commitment to protect collective bargaining rights and the law, despite the actions by the Minnesota Senate majority voting to take away your 2nd year increase. He knows that public employees are putting themselves and their families at great risk by going into work. 

We have had dozens of our members infected with the COVID-19 virus, many of whom are our state’s correctional officers. They go into work in a closed, secured facility nervous about getting infected and bringing it home to their families. We have members who, at the end of their shift, go home to sleep in ice houses and RV trailers in their own driveways to isolate themselves so their family isn’t potentially exposed to the virus. They can only see their children through the windows of their temporary homes. Workers keep doing their jobs because they are dedicated to protecting and serving the public. The many sacrifices of workers are being honored this afternoon by Governor Walz, our labor governor. "An injury to one is an injury to all" and as your Executive Director, I will add that we must all continue to stick together as working people because when one contract is under attack, all of our contracts are under attack. 

State law is clear: The Legislature’s only obligation and duty is to vote up or down on the contracts that are presented to them WITHOUT making changes. We have consistently said that we never have, nor will ever negotiate our contracts with the Legislature and working people should never be treated as political pawns. Under longstanding collective bargaining law, we negotiate our contracts with employers and not with outside entities. The Minnesota Senate’s action in amending the contracts was an attack on not just state employees, but all public, private, and non-profit sector workers. We will continue fighting against attacks on decades-long collective bargaining laws, rights and processes. 

At a time when wealthy individuals and powerful corporations are receiving massive tax cuts and can store their profits overseas to avoid their duty as Americans to pay their taxes, Minnesota’s public service workforce is working diligently and with grace, compassion, and heart to “flatten the curve” and stop this virus that is wreaking havoc on all of our lives and livelihoods. With Governor Walz’s decisive actions in leading our state and nation through this time of many unknowns and a strong, unwavering community of labor unions and members, what we do know is that we will support working families to make our workplaces, communities, and households stronger and safer. 

We need to thank Governor Walz and his Administration for working closely with us to ensure the law is upheld and our contracts are ultimately ratified as union members negotiated. You can watch his announcement by clicking here. 

Lastly, I want to personally extend a heartfelt “thank you” to all public service workers for doing your jobs so well and for sharing your stories with us so we can hold legislators accountable to our shared values. Remember your Senator's vote on your contract come Election Day and be sure to thank legislators who supported our contracts. Your union family is always here for you. We are a powerful union because of all of YOU!

Julie Bleyhl 

Executive Director