It might feel like the dog days of summer, but this is no time for any of us MAPE members to be stagnant – we still have much work to do this month! Even though the Legislature just approved our current contract in May, our Negotiations Team is already hard at work preparing for our 2023-25 contract. Minnesota’s primary elections are over so it’s time to help elect pro-labor candidates in the general election in November.
By now you should have received the Negotiations survey. Please take a few minutes to complete it and tell us how we can improve our contract. This tool shows us which contract issues are most important to you and which ones you’re willing to engage on. Your responses help us to realize how much power we have at the Capitol and bargaining across the table from Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB). Please fill out the survey and send it back by Sept. 8.
I know every few years you hear us say, “This election is the most important one!” But this one really does matter and we need you to help us elect legislators and constitutional officers who will fight for workers. MAPE members are committed to providing the best services possible to our fellow Minnesotans and it is vital we support candidates who recognize our expertise and value government service over privatization efforts.
In Washington, there is talk of reconstituting President Trump’s goal of purging tens of thousands of government workers of due process and other employment protections and replacing them with loyalists through his Schedule F plan. According to Government Executive, Schedule F is a job classification system that would take current federal workers in “policy-related” positions out of the competitive service, stripping them of civil service protections and making them effectively at-will employees.
A group of conservative lawmakers recently did just that: introduced legislation that would make all federal employees at-will workers. Last week, Democrats introduced a bill that would prevent any position in the federal civil service from being reclassified outside of merit system principles without permission from Congress.
Undercutting nonpolitical government employees is not an idea that is going away. The U.S. Supreme Court over the past 15 years has also been slicing away at our rights and freedoms: collective bargaining, healthcare, fewer opportunities to vote and lowering the constitutional wall between church and state are just some of the ways democracy is being hurt.
All of these examples highlight the erosion of the power of working-class people. Building power within our union needs to be our priority because this will determine how we will fight for not only our contract but our democracy.
I’m reminded of Russian former Secretary of State and Deputy Finance Minister Andrei Vavilov’s quote about how the KGB took back Russia, “Everyone forgot. Everyone thought that democracy would just be there. Everyone was thinking only about their own personal interests.”
We cannot forget. Ever.