Tough choices and finishing touches mark negotiations

Publish Date

Negotiations Committee members have spent most of this week poring over dozens of proposals in preparation for the first contract bargaining session on April 4.

“This has been a week of touch choices and finishing touches” according to Negotiations Committee Co-chair Lynn Butcher. “We’ve been prioritizing proposals and identifying member stories to highlight.”

“We’ve made good progress this week,” added Region 16 Negotiations Representative Don Lucksinger. “We’ve been able to prioritize and remove items and will go to the bargaining table with proposals important to us.”

Region 4 Carolyn Murphy

Region 4 Negotiations Representative Carolyn Murphy said the stories members have sent to the committee have been enlightening. “There is such a wide variety of issues and concerns that face our members: discrimination, harassment and lack of workforce provides safety concerns at some agencies.

Right photo: Region 4 Negotiations Representative Carolyn Murphy reads some of the stories members sent to the committee.

“When you’re on the Negotiations Committee, you’re hearing everything. There’s a lot of work to be done,” she added.

Members of MAPE’s Diversity Committee also weighed in on some of the diversity and inclusion proposals negotiators were researching. “Having the Diversity Committee come in was invaluable in helping us prioritize our diversity and inclusion proposals: which ones are winnable and which ones lead to more meaningful change,” Negotiations Committee Co-chair Maggie Dreon said.

Brad Berce, Region 15, and Don Lucksinger, Region 16

Another proposal discussed concerned inclement weather. “We talked about a safety leave weather proposal. This winter’s record cold weather and snow occurred all across the state and affected every agency. Employees had the choice of taking a vacation day or driving over closed roads,” Region 15 Negotiations Representative Brad Berce said.

Left photo: Negotiations representatives Brad Berce (left), Region 15, and Don Lucksinger (right), Region 16, discuss contract proposals.

Dreon added that the inclement weather proposal is “entirely new and entirely responsive to member demands. This proposal reflects the concerns of our members in real time as we were going through negotiations.” 

On April 4, the bargaining teams for MAPE and the governor’s office will meet for the first time in St. Paul. Hundreds of members are also expected to attend at least part of the negotiations meeting. “The April 4th meeting is about transparency and the need to involve members in negotiations. We also want to show how committed we are,” Murphy said.