Major movement on state pay plan

Nov. 30 News update: Members of the three state employee unions have voted to ratify the pay plan agreement described below.


Nov. 10 - Rank-and-file members of the joint bargaining team for Montana’s state employee unions voted today to accept the State of Montana’s latest pay plan proposal.


Katrina Sherman (left) and Tami Ellis, two of the state employee unions' 60-member bargaining team, listen to discussion on the State of Montana's pay plan proposal.

The union team, representing members of MEA-MFT, the Montana Public Employees Association, and AFSCME of Montana, met in Helena today. Paula Stoll, chief labor negotiator for the State of Montana, presented the proposal on behalf of the Schweitzer Administration.


The proposal, which takes up less than one half of a page, provides base pay raises of 1 percent effective the first full pay period in January 2012, and 3 percent effective the first full pay period in January 2013.


The union’s team members, who traveled to Helena from all across the state for the bargaining session, then caucused to discuss the Administration’s proposal. Team members then voted to approve a tentative agreement.


“We feel this was the right thing to do,” said Eric Feaver, president of MEA-MFT. “We are grateful to the State of Montana, Governor Schweitzer, and our sister unions.”


The tentative agreement now goes to a mail-in ballot vote by the entire membership of the three unions. Then the governor’s office and the three unions will take the agreement to the 2011 Legislature for approval.


“State employees are the people who keep criminals off our streets, keep our drinking water clean and safe, conduct research that creates new businesses and jobs, repair our roads, and more,” said Quint Nyman, executive director of the Montana Public Employees Association.


“Montana’s economy could not function without them. This agreement recognizes the important contributions they make to Montana’s citizens.”


Timm Twardoski, executive director of AFSCME, noted that state employees agreed to a pay freeze during the last round of pay plan negotiations. “We’re grateful that the State of Montana recognizes that we can’t keep good people in these jobs if they can’t make a decent living,” he said.


“Some of our members make just $10 an hour. This will give them a 10 cent an hour raise. Every little bit helps.”


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