President’s Corner: August 2021

Publish Date

Last week, following months of contract negotiations and nearly a year of preparation, MAPE reached a tentative agreement (TA) with representatives from Minnesota Management and Budget. MAPE negotiators voted unanimously to accept the TA, and MAPE’s Board of Directors also voted unanimously to recommend the TA to membership for ratification.

The 2021-2023 contract tentative agreement reflects the tireless work of MAPE’s bargaining team. I was honored to serve as part of this team, and I could not have asked for better colleagues and partners as we reimagined bargaining. We came together from regions across the state with different perspectives on our priorities including healthcare, equity and anti-racism. We were respectful and genuinely listened to each other and worked together to do what was best for our members.

We took our work seriously as we considered the myriad ideas suggested by thousands of members. We always kept two foundational questions in mind: 1) are we improving the lives of MAPE members? and 2) are we building the union? The answers are a resounding “yes.”

We secured major victories for members including strong wage increases, added significant benefits to our health insurance with no major changes inn out-of-pocket expenses or share of premium costs, added Juneteenth as a holiday, secured an increase to employer contribution to deferred compensation and more. Check out our website at for more information about the tentative agreement.

We had amazing member engagement. We were proud to have made the negotiations process more open and transparent, “radically transparent” as a member said. We opened negotiations to all interested members until MMB forced us into mediation. We held more tele-townhalls than ever before, along with contract actions with the governor, produced more than a dozen contract videos, a record 1,300 members signed up for our text campaign, and we are thankful that even more members forwarded on updates to social media contacts. 

I have seen MAPE do some remarkable things over the years but even I was blown away when nearly 1,000 members rallied at the Capitol in support of MAPE’s contract. Members from Moorhead to Marshall, and many cities in between, dismissed 90-degree temperatures on July 21 for a final contract push. At the rally we heard fellow members discuss our priority issues in the 2021-2023 contract. The stories were awe-inspiring and heartbreaking. I think it was not a coincidence that negotiators reached a tentative agreement just hours later.

It was also exciting to see so many of our labor allies and community partners at the rally. We negotiated closely with aligned bargaining units and it is great to see MAPE crossing traditional trade union boundaries into the teachers and other groups. We have worked hard to join forces with community partners so we can work together to improve working conditions for all employees in our state.

Now that the TA is completed we must shift to member ratification, and after that, we will announce plans for a tough push at the legislature. Ratification plans include:

  1. Contract meetings in all locals
  2. Membership vote on TA - watch for deadlines to join the union and vote!
  3. Contract is sent to legislative Subcommittee on Employee Relations. SER has 30-days to vote on it; if approved or there is no vote, the contract goes into interim effect. 
  4. Contract requires full legislative approval in 2022.

We need all MAPE-represented employees to join our union.  We are only as strong as we are united, and as weak as we are divided. There is strength in numbers, and more members means the louder our voice and the more power we have, especially at the Legislature. Join today – MAPE is your union: