Members attending more than 60 informational contract meetings statewide
More than 60 informational meetings are taking place across the state from Rochester to Thief River Falls about MAPE’s 2019-2021 tentative agreement. The meetings will take place before members vote to ratify the tentative agreement Aug. 14-26 (a list of Local Contract Informational Meetings is available here: https://mape.org/2019-2021-contract-info).
Region 11 Negotiations Representative Adam Novotny, a program administrator with the Dept. of Corrections, has led three meetings for Locals 1101 and 1102. “Members overall are quite happy with the wages and healthcare side of things. They understand that costs are going up but they’re not what they could be when you compare them healthcare costs in Wisconsin – this is what you get when you can’t collectively bargain,” Novotny said.
Right photo: Region 11 Negotiations Representative Adam Novotny discussed the tentative agreement with Local 1101.
“People are still interested in getting compensation for people who are topped out, and some are a bit skeptical about their agency’s buy-in on student loan payment reimbursement,” he added. He also noted that a handful of members have expressed interest in learning how to organize around the student loan payment reimbursement issue at their agencies.
Mary Reis, a vocational rehabilitation counselor with the Dept. of Employment and Economic Development, said she supported the tentative agreement. “I like all of the themes. I’m concerned about younger people. If they don’t have incentives they’ll leave, and no one benefits from that. The administration often addresses issues after the fact, and this is so much more pro-active.”
This is the third contract bargaining session Region 10 Negotiations Representative Mike Foster has participated in. Foster, a specialist with the Department of Education (MDE), has three informational meetings planned for Local 1001. “Most members have been interested in their issues like phased retirement and student loans repayment, primarily what they need to do to convince their agencies to participate in the program,” he said.
Left photo: Region 10 Negotiations Representative Mike Foster answers questions about the tentative agreement from Local 1001 members.
Molly Turnquist Butala, a nutritionist with MDE, was most interested in the phased retirement program and noted that it “takes forever to hire.”
“We could use phased retirement better – and a better understanding among human resources employees about how it works. It’s a super win for everyone. People can phase out at an appropriate pace.”
As part of his negotiations duties, Foster served on the Joint Labor Coalition on health care and would like to hold two more brown bag luncheon informational meetings focusing on health care. “The whole health care area is confusing to some people, so we want people to make the best decisions for themselves. The first session we’d talk about health care in general including premiums and plan design.
“The second brown bag would be a discussion on what healthcare plan changes people would like to see. Let’s start discussing this now and make sure these ideas get to the coalition,” Foster said.