The administration of Gov. Tim Walz and the state employee unions representing more than 30,000 public sector workers have reached a tentative labor agreement, with workers set to receive raises of 2.25% this year and 2.5% next year.
The contracts still await approval this fall from a legislative subcommittee evenly divided between five Republicans and five Democrats representing the DFL-controlled House and GOP majority Senate.
In the event of a tie, the contracts would go before the entire Legislature during the next session.
The Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) ratified the tentative deal in August, spokeswoman Roberta Heine confirmed Wednesday. The union represents about 15,000 workers, including jobs from accountants to zoologists.
The contracts were first reported by Minnesota Public Radio.
The other major union representing state workers, American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
MAPE members average about $33 per hour; after the raises average pay will increase to $34.59. About 60% of MAPE members are eligible for other increases, known as “step” raises, when they reach new levels of seniority.
“We bargained a modest yet fair contract in a tough state budget year,” said Lina Jamoul, executive director of MAPE.
State workers, like many private sector workers, will pay higher health care costs in the years to come, though the increases are modest.
Walz, the first-term DFL governor, said he views state employees as “partners.” MAPE endorsed Walz in the DFL primary, and he received support from AFSCME during his general election campaign. “We’re grateful that they’re there,” he told reporters Tuesday. Walz specifically applauded an increase in tuition repayment for hard-to-fill jobs.
Depending on the agency, workers can receive up to $5,000 per year for five years to pay off student loans amid spiking student debt levels in Minnesota and the nation.
State workers’ monthly health insurance costs will increase to $37.88 for single employees and $258.49 for families by the end of the two-year contract.