Meet and confer
Minnesota Statute 179A.07, Subd. 3. “Meet and Confer. A public employer has the obligation to meet and confer, under section 179A.08, with professional employees to discuss policies and other matters relating to their employment which are not terms and conditions of employment.”
Minnesota Statute 179A.08 Subd. 1. “Professional employees. The legislature recognizes that professional employees possess knowledge, expertise, and dedication which is helpful and necessary to the operation and quality of public services and which may assist public employers in developing their policies. It is, therefore, the policy of this state to encourage close cooperation between public employers and professional employees by providing for discussions and the mutual exchange of ideas regarding all matters that are not terms and conditions of employment.”
Professional employees are the only public employees of the state of Minnesota that are guaranteed this right to meet and confer with their employers. Another subdivision of the law specifies that when an exclusive bargaining representative is involved that the meet and confer will include the union (179.07, Subd. 4).
Questions and answers about meet and confer
Q: Does MAPE participate in the meet and confer process?
A: Yes. Dozens of meet and confers take place each year. In some departments several are held each year. In other departments they may occur infrequently.
Q: What topics are covered in meet and confers?
A: Topics have included: Classification study results, staffing patterns, safety issues, budgetary information, legislative updates, program planning, training opportunities, etc. In addition to these “approved” topics, areas that involve terms and conditions of employment have also been discussed in this forum.
Q: How can I become a member of a meet and confer team?
A: Contact your meet and confer chairperson or the MAPE office and submit your name for consideration.
Q: Can I have input into the meet and confer process without being a member of the team?
A: Yes. If you have an idea or a concern, contact any member of your meet and confer team or the MAPE office.
Q: How effective are the meet and confer meetings?
A: Results vary, depending on the issues involved and the receptiveness of the departments. In all cases, however, the better prepared a team is, the better the outcomes.
Q: Who represents management in the meet and confer session?
A: In many departments, the commissioner, assistant commissioners, deputy commissioners, and other top level management attend the meet and confers. In some departments, designees are assigned the responsibility by the commissioner. In almost all cases, personnel and labor relations representatives are present.