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Corbid said next year’s increases reflect the improved economy. “The County Board has felt employees did their part during the recession, taking no increases,” he said.
State workers in the two biggest public employee unions — the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) — will get larger across-the-board pay increases than Hennepin County workers in the next two years of 3 percent annually.
Eliot Seide, executive director at AFSCME Council 5, which represents 18,000 workers statewide, including 4,000 in Hennepin County, said he wouldn’t infer too much from the wage increases.
Pay may be nudging up, but so is the amount employees pay out of pocket for health care, he said.
Defending the thaw
In addition to freezing their pay in the past few years, Hennepin County had encouraged employees to take leave without pay, said County Board Chairman Mike Opat.
Now it’s time to “make up ground,” he said.
“We recognize that the market for public employees is competitive and, in some cases, Hennepin County is below the market,” he said. The increases will benefit employees at the same time they help the county keep and attract good workers, he added.
Peters said the raises and their timing make sense. “Employees really did step up and assist us with the bad times.”
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