Voting on the 2017-2019 MGEC Contract began this week. Full members were e-mailed correspondence which includes a link to their ballot. Non-members can request a copy of the board’s recommendation.
MGEC is co-sponsoring a two hour continuing education seminar and webinar on ethics. Details and registration can be done at the MAPD website.
A deal has been worked out to ratify the MGEC Contact. Assurances were given by all parties that employees won’t see their pay cut. MGEC President Julie Groetsch and Executive Director Dana Wheeler meet with MMB Commissioner Myron Franz Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. to go over the details and address any remaining issues. If the odds going into Monday’s session were 55/45 favoring ratification those odds improved Tuesday to 95/5 that the contract will be ratified by Wednesday. The many calls, e-mails and personal contacts by MGEC members helped and clearly kept their issue in the awareness of negotiators.
Throughout the weekend, neither House nor Senate brought the MGEC Contract to a vote. MGEC continued talking with leadership. Senate leadership confirmed they plan to bring up the MGEC contract. They don’t want to create a situation where they take something away and then have to give it back later. There was discussion that they were going to bring the contract only to the floor late Sunday. That didn’t happen. Members of both the House and Senate are observing that Governor Dayton hasn’t raised the issue yet. They have not been able to reach agreement on budget bills. There are hundreds of outstanding policies issues in bills that the Governor doesn’t want considered. It’s past time for the contract to be considered a bargaining chip.
It’s looking like a special session may be more likely. The MGEC Board meeting will be post phoned today so members can meet at the capitol to talk to legislators. They need to know that waiting for a special session to ratify the contract only causes problems. MGEC members are encouraged to make a trip to the capitol today. Tell them what you do for the state. Tell them how your compensation compares to the compensation provided by other employers. Pages in offices next to the entry to each house will take notes to legislators asking to see them.
The State’s Engineers, Land Surveyors and Engineering Specialists are dedicated, intelligent, and valued employees! Failure to ratify their contract and arbitration award sends them the wrong message about their value to the state. Their pay is already behind that of other employers for the same work. Why cut their wages five to seven percent to 2015 levels? That’s demoralizing and creates undue economic hardship on them. With infrastructure issues at the heart of public discussion, we need these people at their best. Tell your legislators, you increased your own wages, now it’s time to “ratify the 2015-2017 MGEC Contract” today! (see vote)
Two days of hearings were held June 2-3 pertaining to the MGEC contract successor agreement. How did it go? MGEC is pleased that the information conveyed by the evidence and examples provided by witnesses were clear and thorough. Attorney James Michaels, for MGEC provided the rationale and supporting documentation for the increases sought. The arbitrator is free to fashion any remedy deemed appropriate. We believe that the State’s wage proposal of 2.5% each July 1 (retroactive to 2015 & 2016) is the starting point for the arbitrator. The next step of the process is for both parties to submit “briefs” to the arbitrator by July 1. The brief will pull together the evidence and testimony as coherent arguments supporting MGEC final economic proposals; so more details can be provided after that point. Provided everything is complete, the arbitrator then has thirty days to prepare his award. Once the award is received, if MGEC were to receive any of the additional remedies sought: an equity adjustment for Senior Engineering Specialists and/or another one percent each year at the top step for all classes in order to move in the direction of market rates, and/or an additional deferred $100 compensation match for all employees, the award would then go to the Legislative Subcommittee on Employees for a vote.