Senator Parry has been keeping himself in the media spotlight as he battles fellow Republican Alan Quist in a primary. The primary vote is next Tuesday.
Senator Parry announced at the beginning of the hearing that there would be no vote on the collective bargaining agreement between the state and the unions today. A DFL member of the committee, Representative Leon Lillie (North St. Paul), objected saying for the past eight years it’s been custom for the subcommittee on employee relations to take a vote on the contract once it is presented. Senator Parry said committee has 30 days to take that vote and plans for a committee vote on August 23, which is one day before a legislative special session on flood relief is expected to begin.
DFL lawmaker says delay on contract is “politics over middle-class Minnesotans”.
After the hearing Representative Ryan Winkler (DFL) issued the following statement.
“Today, Republicans continued their trend of choosing politics over middle-class Minnesotans,” said Rep. Winkler. “This is a compromise that will save the state money, and keep public employee cost increases lower than the private sector, while giving struggling middle-class workers a small, long-overdue raise.”
Winkler says the agreed upon contract would not give any across-the-board wage increases for the first 18 months of the two-year contract. During the last six months of the contract, employees would receive a modest 2 percent across-the-board wage increase. State employees were not given any across-the-board wage increases in fiscal year 2010 and 2011.
State employees have also agreed to increases in their health care co-pays and deductibles that will save Minnesota taxpayers $7.9 million in this biennium and every year thereafter. No new state money would be used to pay for the small wage increase; state agencies would be required to absorb the costs within their existing budgets.
“State employees have made more than their fair share of sacrifices,” added Rep. Winkler. “Last year’s state government shutdown cost the average state worker a 5.8 percent annual pay cut and employees lost $65 million in total wages. These are middle-class families, working to make ends meet, who have had to deal with stagnant wages for years. These hard-working Minnesotan deserve to be fairly compensated and shouldn’t have to wait while Republicans play politics.”
Below — video of the entire hearing: