Minn. Union OKs Tentative Contract
ASHLEY H. GRANT
Nov. 20, 2001
SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Members of Minnesota's largest state employees union have voted overwhelmingly to approve a tentative agreement with the state, union leaders announced Monday.
Minnesota's two largest state-employee unions _ about half the state's work force _ went on a two-week strike last month in the biggest such walkout in state history.
About 23,000 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 6 and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees staged the strike over pay increases and health benefits. Strikers included highway maintenance workers, janitors, food inspectors and computer professionals.
Last month, negotiators for both unions reached settlements that were put to the rank-and-file vote. MAPE officials plan to count their members' ballots Wednesday.
Five of the six bargaining units represented by AFSCME voted 6,688 to 1,443 to approve the tentative agreement that includes a 3.5 percent pay increase.
The unit representing corrections officers, who aren't allowed to strike, rejected the deal and will go into arbitration.
A state legislative subcommittee and the full Legislature must eventually approve the contract.
Some lawmakers have said they might vote against it because of a provision that extends benefits to partners in same-sex relationships.