From the boots in the shops

Back in early 2019 we (Heavy Equipment Mechanics) in Rochester were getting upset with how we have been treated during contract negotiations dating back to a hay study done in 2009, we felt like we were used only as a bargaining chip and not getting the raises MMB actually agreed we were entitled to after that hay study had been completed. Our guys in the shop were all about to drop the union and were discussing our options. Our local union president asked if I would be willing to pitch a wage inequality proposal to the negotiations teams of AFSCME and MMB, I said yes and please get it set up for us. Local 868 managed to finally get information and a day to give the pitch. We (local 868) made a small group from our local's Heavy Equipment Mechanics and started to acquire as many current and recent job offerings from around the state and local area. Our group got their hands on other union contracts which showed their benefits and pay scales. Putting it together with our own personal stories of job opportunities and why we were working for the State of Minnesota. Our small team did a lot of discussion in house about how to pitch the inequity and what our key points were to be. We decided to reach out to our coworkers on the other side of our district, over in Owatonna a few days before the proposal was scheduled so we could get their input and decided it was best to include them in the proposal as well. They had also collected job information, to help. The two that came along had a lot more seniority than myself and one other coming along from Rochester. Our small team had passion about our careers and for getting to be heard about the wage difference, Finally!

Our team met at Arden Hills on the day of the proposal presentations, chatting outside for a short while to come up with our game plan, then went inside to kick off the presentations. Our team came in with a lot of information, a lot of passion, and a positive attitude about working for MnDOT. Our presentation was pitched at top performance, I could not have asked for anything more from any of our guys that day and we were extremely thankful we included the two from Owatonna! We returned home with high expectations and little to no remorse. Then the LONG waiting game started along with extremely poor communication from all parties involved. We waited for answers, waited for responses, waited for anything and nothing ever came. I began reaching out to our union president often, along with the negotiations person in our union. I contacted upper management for a route to take and they gave me a few contacts to reach out to at MMB. Those contacts helped tremendously, not so much for their answers because it was always returned as almost finished and you should be hearing shortly from the compensation team. I feel they helped because it put our inequity proposals back on top of their to do piles and it forced them to actually look for an answer from something that once again had been getting covered up with the mess of COVID. We waited and waited, for nearly a year and a half. Suddenly there seemed to be a response, one that was not the best in giving 2 range bumps, but our work had not gone unnoticed, finally.

Then came the notice about how MMB was going to give out the steps, a "low cost implantation". This concerns me because it still is not being given based upon seniority and it could now be affected by a freezing of step increases and many would get the second one until later. I personally would like to see everyone get the second one on July 1st, but it seems this is not negotiable right now.

This is what mmb sent.

  The inequity responses from the 2019-2021 bargaining season have come back. Below is the table of classes and reassignments. As a reminder, inequities are presented to the state and then responded to. The inequities will be implemented in the first pay period of January, meaning January 6th. The state is utilizing a low cost implementation which means that all incumbents within these classification will move to the new salary range with no immediate change to salary except:

a.       Any incumbents whose January 6, 2021 salary was below the minimum of the new range will be moved to the minimum of the new range; and

b.       Any incumbent who has been at the maximum of their of their salary range for one year or more as of January 6, 2021, and whose performance would have otherwise qualified them for a progression increase in the prior year, will be eligible for a delayed progression increase of one step upon the date of the range reassignment.

Job Classification

Job Code

Current Range

New Range

Building Utilities Mechanic

000135

90F

91F

Electrician

000266

94F

96F

Electrician Lead

002108

96F

98F

Electrician Master of Record

003452

95F

97F

Electronical/Electronics Spec

003189

94F

95F

Heavy Equipment Field Mechanic

000104

93F

95F

Heavy Equipment Mechanic

000927

92F

94F

Highway Signal Tech

000358

94F

96F

Mine Hoist and Maintenance Lead Worker

003647

95F

97F

Mine Hoist and Maintenance Worker

000914

93F

95F

Plant Maintenance Engineer

000525

91F

93F

Plant Maintenance Engineer Lead

003672

93F

95F

Plumber

000530

92F

93F

Plumber Chief

003328

94F

95F

Plumber Fitter

003278

94F

95F

Plumber Master in Charge

003453

94F

95F

Refrigeration Mechanic

001019

91F

92F

Stationary Engineer

000700

91F

93F