Thursday, December 19th, marked the 8th time MGEC met with representatives from the State’s bargaining team in 2019, and the first day of mediation. There is some small progress to report. The MGEC negotiation team and the State signed a Memorandum of Understanding; agreeing to implement the new insurance coverage effective January 1, 2020 and to also honor several, previously agreed upon contract language changes (Tentative Agreements) in the new contract when it is implemented.
While MGEC and the State agree on most remaining contract issues, there continues to be a significant difference of viewpoint with respect to compensation for several of our job classes. Starting wages for some classes and top-step (maximum) wages in other classes are not competitive with many other public sector employers in the Twin Cities as demonstrated by several salary surveys, class specifications, and current job postings.
From our first day of negotiations, MGEC has sought improvements in wages through range adjustments, or increases in the top step(s), in addition to proposals related to a higher Across-the-Board (ATB) increase. The State continues to offer the basic pattern, with some mostly discretionary additions; MGEC maintains its clear intent to the State to address compensation. MGEC believes it has a strong position this contract cycle for some reasonable wage inequity corrections based on the current market. The process continues as we look forward to our second day of mediation, scheduled for Wednesday, January 22, 2020.
Your negotiating team and the MGEC Board recognize that the negotiation process would ideally both start earlier and move more quickly, but incremental progress is being made. We have been steadily collecting information to support our proposals every step of the way- with each day we consider new ways to illustrate, defend, and support our position more effectively.
We know many of our members have additional questions- MGEC is currently exploring technical options for a negotiation update webinar (or similar live webcast or streaming event) early in 2020. We’re working for you, and we’re listening to your feedback.
Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season,
Derrick Dasenbrock, MGEC President