We Secured Transformational Investments We Deserve!

In Minnesota, our union particularly, while also working alongside our allies and partner organizations, wasted no time this legislative session to work alongside our pro-worker, pro-democracy trifecta we worked so hard to elect in 2022. We delivered REAL and HISTORIC results directly for our members, retirees, all workers, and our communities. Our Council is renowned in our state for our legislative and political advocacy, and we are building upon this great legacy. We will be sharing these successes in all that we do.

The work we do is about improving people's lives. And your union family works hard in the workplace, in the halls of power, and in our communities to fight for what we need and deserve. Please share this update. 

Main takeaways of this legislative session:

  • We invested in workers, our families, retirees, and our communities that will improve our economic security and leave nobody behind.

  • We strengthened our freedom to join together in a union and have robust union representation.

  • We defended our democracy and expanded the right to vote to more Minnesotans.

  • Our union defended and strengthened the rights of our members to live their lives with freedom, dignity, and respect.

Our union held the pro-worker trifecta in MN state government, who we helped elect, accountable to our union's legislative priorities: And we delivered for our members!

500 AFSCME Council 5 members attended our March Day on the Hill, we had members from various sectors and policy committees come to lobby lawmakers every single week and worked directly with our legislative team, we hosted and co-hosted press conferences, signed up dozens of our members to testify in legislative committees, and also worked very well with our coalition partners to yield many incredible results.

On May 24, 2023, leaders and members of AFSCME Council 5 attended Governor Tim Walz's bill signing to enact so many of these priorities into law. 

Our lost-time members who are funded through the grant from the IU, of which we are very grateful, have been signing up new members and PEOPLE contributors while sharing our legislative victories at the same time and strengthening our union affinity. We are also thankful for the IU's critical digital campaign support that helped us fight back against corporate and employer arguments on Paid Family and Medical Leave. 

We hosted a Town Hall on June 15th at 11 AM to share these highlights and victories that was open to all of our members. CLICK HERE TO WATCH THIS TOWN HALL!

Below are some highlights. We will champion these historic achievements in everything we do!

Strengthening Unions, Collective Bargaining, and Our Rights

  • Requires employers to provide unions with accurate lists of contact information in a timely manner so we can talk to and represent these new workers
  • Bans employers from forcing workers to attend mandatory anti-union meetings (aka captive audience meetings)
  • Safe Staffing: Allows workers to negotiate as a union with the employer over staffing ratios in the workplace
  • Huge victory: Policy language was included to change the state contract ratification process to eliminate the legislative review and single-chamber veto power to reject our contracts.
    • This means that when a state employee contract is negotiated and a Tentative Agreement is reached and our union members vote to ratify the agreement, then the contract would go into effect WITHOUT political interference.
    • Remember, in 2020, the Senate Republicans amended our contracts to repeal our 2.5% 2nd-year wage increase. Our union helped to sue them and represent our members and we won in court to restore the 2.5% pay raise.
  • Requires access for New Employee Orientation, at least 30 minutes within 30 calendar days from the hire date.
  • Within 20 days of the hire date, requires public employers to provide information about the new employee, such as: name, job title, worksite location, home address, telephone numbers, email addresses
  • Provide bargaining unit lists at least every 120 days. 
  • Notice of employees’ separation to our union within 20 calendar days.
  • Allows communication with bargaining unit employees over work email (in accordance with employer’s technology use policies) for collective bargaining, administration of CBAs, investigation of grievances, other workplace complaints and more.
  • Codify card check certification of new bargaining units.
  • Guarantees backpay for state employees in the event of a government shutdown caused by non-appropriation.
  • Funds the Public Employment Labor Relations Board (PERB) to handle public sector unfair labor practices, after many years of anti-worker politicians continuing to block this critical board.
Note: We will continue to communicate further with our locals with regard to the PELRA changes and their implementation dates, many of which will go into effect in January 2024. In most cases, we fought for DECADES for the above PELRA changes to be signed into law! This was a HUGE VICTORY, especially as we faced becoming a potential "Right to Work" state if anti-worker politicians gained control of the government in the 2022 elections. 
Funding State and Local Government
  • Historic increases in Local Government Aid ($80 million) and County Program Aid ($80 million)
  • Historic increases in funding for state agencies for existing programmatic work of our members. This will help state employee negotiations team members, for example, while they soon fight for important wage increases in contract negotiations. 
  • Making Corporations pay their fair share; Raising Revenue Fairly; Cannabis
  • Closed corporate tax loopholes to prevent corporations from continuing to evade taxes in offshore bank accounts in foreign countries.
  • 0.25% metro area sales tax in HF 2335 will apply to the 7-county metro area, and will generate $353.2 million in FY24-25, and $291.4 million in the out years to invest in housing.
  • Legalized, taxed, and regulated adult-use cannabis (marijuana) for individuals over age 21 in Minnesota. Created a system in which non-violent cannabis possession charges can be expunged. 
  • Historic investments in ALL modes of transportation, from our roads and bridges, to transit, busses, bike paths, and more
  • A modest 5 cent increase in the gas tax over 4 years, indexed to inflation (going forward, the gas tax will increase by the rate of inflation or 3%, whichever is less) to guarantee robust transportation funding for our MnDOT and local government transportation workers and critically important infrastructure projects. 
Strengthening and Expanding Voting Rights, Protecting Election Workers
  • Democracy for the People Act signed into law that creates a safe and secure automatic voter registration system, allows 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote so they learn early about the importance of participating in our democracy and voting, protects election workers from intimidation and harassment, band foreign corporate influence and spending in our elections, and more. 
  • Passed legislation allowing more than 50,000 Minnesotans who have completed their time of incarceration the right to vote 
Investing in Working People, Families, and Retirees
  • New benefit: Paid Family and Medical Leave for ALL: 12 weeks of paid leave is guaranteed for workers who need to care for a new child, or to care for themselves or a loved one. 
    • Our union proudly led the effort to include language in the bill that grants this leave to individuals who may experience domestic violence and need to seek services to protect themselves and their children, called "safety leave".
  • New benefit: Earned Sick and Safe Time; Guarantees every worker in Minnesota will have access to sick days. The accrual rate is one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year. Unused time must be allowed to roll over to the next year with an 80-hour total cap.
  • Global-leading child tax credit that will reduce child poverty by 33%. 
  • Direct $260 checks to working people and retirees 
  • $500 million in direct investments into our defined-benefit pensions to protect our retirement security; Put more money in our union members' pocketbooks by slightly reducing the employee-side pension contribution that is FULLY FUNDED.
  • $1 billion to fund affordable housing.
Judiciary and Public Safety
  • Historic funding and state aid to local governments for public safety purposes. 
  • Our union's sponsored bill to BAN PRIVATE PRISONS IN MINNESOTA was passed into law after decades of fighting.
  • Compensation pool increases for Court Staff of 9% in FY24 and 6% in FY25.
  • Increases funding to the Guardian ad Litem Board to maintain operations (9% increase in FY24 and 6% increase in FY25).
  • $87 million increase for Community Corrections Act, Probation, and Community Supervision 
Higher Education
  • MnSCU funding
    • MNSU will receive $75 million for freezing tuition for the next two academic years. Our union has always fought for full funding should any tuition freezes get passed into law. MNSU will also receive $50 million in FY24 in one-time campus relief to battle previous inflation. There is additional aid to non-metro colleges
  • U of M funding
    • The UMN system will receive $100 million per biennium for core mission support, with no recommendations on tuition changes.
  • Removed the restriction on hourly higher education workers from receiving unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in the event they are laid off in the summer. Higher ed workers were once stripped from this bill, but then our union fought back and it was ultimately included in the bill to grant UI benefits to these workers. 
    • "North Star Promise" is funded for the 24-25 academic year and can continue for another two years. Families must earn less than $80,000 in federal adjusted gross income, they must apply for FAFSA, and it is designed to be a last-dollar program that funds after financial aid is assessed. The funds cannot exceed 100% of tuition and fees. 
K-12 Public Schools
  • FREE breakfast and lunch for ALL children in our K-12 schools who are enrolled in the free/reduced prices lunch program
  • Historic increase in the general education formula of 4% and 2%, increases with inflation going forward
  • Removed the restriction on hourly K-12 education workers from receiving unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in the event they are laid off in the summer.
  • Reduction of 44% in district share of Special Education and English Language Learner Cross Subsidies – equivalent to an additional 4% formula increase. 
Transportation Revenue Raisers
  • License tabs fee schedule change starting in 2024– first year (new vehicle) fee remains unchanged – fees in subsequent years are reduced at a slower rate than current law. Raises $787 million.
  • Gas tax will increase by the rate of inflation or 3%, whichever is less. Raises $421 million. This is a huge victory we secured with our MnDOT and local government transportation workers!
  • Motor vehicle sales tax increasing to normal state sales tax. Increase of .375%. Raises $215 million.
  • Metro-area sales tax increasing by .75% to help fund transit expansion and maintenance (7 counties receive 17%, or $356 million, of this to spend at their discretion) – raises $2.1 billion over 4 years.
  • Gradual shift of auto-parts sales tax revenue from the General Fund to dedicated transportation funds. 
  • Retail delivery fee of $0.50 on deliveries over $100, excluding food, medicines and medical devices, and baby goods. Only applies to companies that grossed at least $1 million in revenue in the previous year. Raises $189 million.
  • DVS filing fee increases of $1-$6.75.
  • Blackout license plates - $30 surcharge. Raises $18 million and will help fund 20 new license examiner positions. 
Human Services:
  • Direct Care and Treatment funding increase to maintain current services - $99.6 million in FY24/25 and $110 million in FY26/27.
  • Direct Care and Treatment, Electronic Health Records - $48 million in FY24/25.
  • Temporary elimination of the county cost share for civilly committed individuals - $13 million. 
  • $4 million to increase the paid hours limit for personal assistance services provided by parents and spouses.
  • $90 million in FY24 for workforce incentive grants for long-term services and supports. 
  • $10 million increase to the formula for intermediate care facilities for persons with developmental disabilities and annual inflation adjustment. 
  • DWRS rate adjustment – increases funding in FY24/25 by $86.6 million and $225 million in FY 26/27. 
  • Community First Family and Supports rate modifications - $341.6 million increase in FY24/25 and $547.8 million in FY26/27.
  • Elderly Waiver Rate Increase - $122 million in FY24/25 and $290 million in FY26/27.
  • BI/CADI 12% rate increase - $35 million in FY24/25 and $85 million in FY26/27.
  • Disability and Elderly Waiver Homemaker rate alignment - $46.5 million in FY24/25 and $75 million in FY26/27.
  • Other HCBS rates increased by 14% - $20 million in FY24/25 and $28.4 million in FY26/27.
  • Home Care Nursing rate increase - $22.8 million in FY24/25 and $36.8 million in FY26/27.
  • Nursing Home Funding
    • $100 million in FY24 for Nursing Facility Loan Program (zero-interest loans for financially distressed facilities).
    • $173 million in direct payments to nursing homes.
    • $75 million for workforce incentive grant program to recruit and retain workers.
    • $36.5 million for temporary daily rate add-on payments.
  • $39.2 million in FY24 for Long Term Care Workforce Grants and legal and social services for new Americans.
  • $18.8 million in FY24 – rural and underserved communities provide capacity grants. 
Environment and Natural Resources:
  • Department of Natural Resources - $90 million increase to base funding in FY24/25 and $104.5 to maintain current services. 
  • Pollution Control Agency - $22 million increase to base funding in FY24/25 and $26 million in FY26/27 to maintain current services. 
  • $7 million for the Science Museum of Minnesota for “debt relief, rehiring and retaining employees, supporting employee contracts, and diversity and inclusion training and outreach.”
  • Minnesota Zoo:
    • $6 million to maintain current services.
    • $850,000 for public safety and security systems. 
  • Metropolitan Council:
    • $9 million to modernize regional parks and trails.
    • $6 million increase for metropolitan parks maintenance increase.
    • $2.75 million for inflow and infiltration reduction grants.
  • $45 million in permanent revenue increases for dedicated funds.