I’d like to take this opportunity to extend a personal “thank you” to our 684 members who completed the MGEC Member Survey. There were many thoughtful responses provided in the comments section; our Negotiating Committee is already reviewing the information and incorporating the results into the framework for our meetings with the State in early September. A participation rate of over 67% is outstanding.
No surprise to us, the most frequent comments were with respect to wages. There were several consistent themes within those comments. Some of the strongest sentiments were related to fair and equitable compensation for our members, in all job classifications, as compared to our colleagues in other government agencies (such as counties, cities, and the Metropolitan Council) and the private sector. Your negotiating team is aware that “take home pay” is the primary interest of a majority of our members.
Many comments reflected a strong sense of solidarity and community- asking for a negotiation focus on contract language that benefits all our members collectively (not favoring only the newest or oldest members or those in specific job classifications or roles). Other comments reflected concerns of which your leadership team is well aware, such as lateral transfer and promotion opportunities, the need to both retain our existing employees and attract talented new ones, and issues related to training, leave, flexibility in time management and work location.
Previously negotiated items such as the Health Care Savings Plan (HCSP) and past-employment vacation credit received favorable comments. The survey reflected a range of opinion on deferred compensation, vacation and sick leave (both accrual and usage). Members’ opinions also varied on other types of existing and proposed reimbursements (meal, safety boot, student loan, professional licensure, gym membership, etc.), longevity steps, insurance, and achievement awards.
In looking over the survey results, it was instructive to see the wide diversity of opinion. We recognize that not all our members travel, join professional societies, or need work boots. We also recognize that members’ interests and needs are often dynamic, changing over the span of time. Even for an individual member, issues such as health care, retirement savings, work time, and location flexibility may vary with age, managers, and job assignments. Our bargaining positions will reflect both broad-based interests and specific issues for our members. Often, the most progress is made on contract language and while changes and improvements to specific language may not impact every member right now, helping some of our members is a favorable outcome for our entire member community.
As time permits, I and the MGEC Board will be working on some FAQ responses to questions that were posed to us in members’ survey responses.
Thank you for your membership and support of MGEC,