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Teamster Local 320 applauds Minnesota Governor Tim Walz for supporting unions and collective bargaining

(Source: Teamsters Local 320 press release, May 20, 2020)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Teamsters Local 320 congratulates Governor Tim Walz for standing with Teamsters and other union state employees who are counting on their now-ratified labor agreements, which promise raises in the second year. Nearly 1,000 Teamsters Local 320 members were affected, in addition to thousands of other state employees.

On May 11, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to ratify the collective bargaining agreements as submitted. On May 17, the Minnesota State Senate voted to ratify the agreements, but stripped the negotiated raises from the second year of the contract.

This was an unusual situation which required a thorough legal review. Based on that review, the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget (MMB) determined that the Minnesota Legislature ratified the 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreements and the legislature does not have the authority to unilaterally modify the agreements or plans. The MMB will implement them as submitted to the legislature under Governor Walz’s leadership.

The collective bargaining process is established in statute, as is the process both the executive branch and legislature must follow. The executive branch negotiates agreements with state employees through their exclusive representatives. The executive branch then submits those agreements (along with the compensation plans) to the legislature, which can ratify them or reject them.

Senate Republican leadership came to the Teamsters and urged Local 320 to renegotiate their contract to strip the raises out from the second year of the contract. Teamsters Local 320 refused, standing with its membership and principles of free collective bargaining.

“We were not going to let Teamster members go backwards,” said Brian Aldes, Teamsters Local 320 Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer. “Teamsters Local 320 will never renegotiate a tentative agreement under political threat!

It’s always unfortunate when labor unions come under political attack, but Teamster members demanded action and we must be clear: only one Republican legislator voted to support our labor contracts and that was Senator Jim Abeler (R – Anoka). We must thank the Senate and House DFL leadership and members for supporting workers and collective bargaining.”

“What should have been a straightforward process became a rollercoaster ride of partisanship and union bashing,” said Sami Gabriel, Local 320 President and Chief Negotiator. “The agreements were negotiated in good faith and we are happy that Governor Walz pushed through the agreements unscathed from legislative interference.”

Teamsters Local 320 represents thousands of public sector workers throughout Minnesota. For more information go to https://www.teamsterslocal320.org/.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

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