AFSCME State Employees Reach Tentative Agreement!

Your AFSCME Council 5 state employees master contract negotiations team worked countless hours and many long nights and early mornings has reached a Tentative Agreement (TA) with the State of Minnesota at 2:30AM on July 22, 2021 after more than 175 hours of bargaining on behalf of more than 18,000 AFSCME state employees! Please be sure to thank them for their incredible work and carrying on our collective legacy of contracts that directly improve the lives of our fellow union members.

Our union contract language, wages and benefits, due process rights, health care, pensions, and our collective fight for investments in the lives of working people are the cornerstones of our union and the very reason why we exist. We lift up all workers through strengthening our contracts and fighting for the investments workers deserve and demand. Be proud; That is the union difference!

Your negotiations team successfully fought back harmful language proposals by the employer to strip our seniority rights and major changes to our grievance process, attacks on overtime, and fought against furloughs. They secured major victories for our members including strong wage increases, added significant benefits to our health insurance with NO changes in out-of-pocket costs, added the new Juneteenth holiday, secured a large increase to injured on duty pay and employer contributions to deferred compensation plans, and more.

Council 5 Executive Director Julie Bleyhl said, "Public service workers are the reason why our state continued to work even during the midst of a global pandemic that has taken millions of lives and many within our own union family. We honor your work and we honor all of those we have lost in the line of duty and outside of work. At the end of the day, a union is a family and we will stop at nothing to ensure all workers' voices are heard and respected. The hard work put in by your elected negotiations team and Council 5 staff has been truly remarkable. As a union family, we will build upon our successes and always fight for one another."

The negotiations process began with rank-and-file AFSCME members bringing proposals forward to their local union, to local unions voting on the proposals and forwarding them to the master team, and then the master team taking those proposals and presenting them to the employer. All along the way, you supported your union bargaining team by signing our petition, sharing your stories, wearing green at work, hosting local events, and more. When we continue to mobilize and organize the AFSCME Green Machine, nothing will stop us from creating our new future on behalf of all workers.

By working together and unifying, our union will continue to secure major victories that directly impact the lives of all 43,000 members of AFSCME Council 5, our families and all Minnesotans. We’ll surpass our goals as a union and build a post-COVID world that is rooted in the lived experiences of workers.

We are grateful for all of the work done by local members, the negotiating team who worked literally round the clock to secure a strong contract, Council 5 staff and all of those who made this TA a reality. Unity, solidarity, activism, and collaboration paved the way to securing this agreement.

A comprehensive list of Tentative Agreement highlights was sent to members' home email addresses on file. Didn't receive it? Please call our Member Action Center at 651-450-4990.

Your AFSCME Council 5 master negotiations team worked tirelessly to reach a tentative agreement with the State of Minnesota! These members were democratically elected to represent more than 18,000 AFSCME state employees. Pictured: Row one (from left): Jessica Langhorst (Local 1092), Mary Falk (Local 4001), Council 5 Field Director Melinda Pearson, Bryan Kirsch (Local 221), John C. Hillyard (Local 600). Row two (from left): Andrew Ziebell (Local 4001), April Grothe (Local 735), Council 5 Field Director Bart Andersen, Chris Gevara (Local 3998), Council 5 Field Staff Christine Harriman. Row three (from left): Council 5 President Eric Hesse (Local 404), James Thomason (Local 735), Kevin Norbie (Local 2829), Mel Prezcewski (Local 2829), Melissa Newburgh (Local 2728), Trish Diersen (Local 2829). Row four: Scuffy Paulson (Local 868).