Members of Montana’s three state employee unions said Tuesday that they have approved a plan proposed by union negotiators and the Schweitzer administration that would give state employees their first pay raise in two years.

The plan, which calls for a 1 percent increase in base pay effective in January 2012 and a 3 percent raise in January 2013, must be approved by the Republican-controlled legislature.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s budget office has said the pay increase would cost the state about $22 million over the next two-year budget period.

Leaders of the MEA-MFT, AFSCME of Montana and the Montana Public Employees Association said the unions voted to approve the pay plan. They did not release the results of the votes.

“I am pleased that our members have ratified this agreement,” MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver said in a statement. “This was the best deal we could make, and we will do everything we can to guide it through the 2011 Legislature. We are grateful to Governor Schweitzer for working with us and for continuing good faith pre-budget negotiations.”

The raise may not be enough to cover anticipated increases in health insurance costs that employees also face.

“We realize this agreement does not address both pay and health insurance, it does provide a pay increase to all state employees,” said Quint Nyman, executive director of the Montana Public Employees Association.

Schweitzer has said a modest pay increase was needed to retain state employees at a time when the work force has faced “vacancy savings,” where many jobs are not filled when a worker leaves.

(10) comments

JSwede

Baaa, baaa little union sheep. You essentially agreed to a reduction in your income. “We realize this agreement does not address both pay and health insurance, it does provide a pay increase to all state employees,” said Quint Nyman, executive director of the Montana Public Employees Association. Clearly he is math challenged. Yes, it provides a pay increase of about $10 per paycheck for the average state employee - but it is far less for those in the majority of state jobs. And this after 2 years without raises. Schweitzer says a modest pay increase was needed to retain state employees at a time when the work force has faced “vacancy savings,” where many jobs are not filled when a worker leaves. Does he really think that $20 a month is going to retain good employees when their health insurance will probably go up by twice that?

allie372

Modest???? My husband is a state employee and we find this insulting. It's not even enough to cover the increase in our health insurance premiums. So at the end of the day we will make less money than we did before.

bridge1

As a State employee I am not at all dissapointed. Times are tough all over and I would be happy to stay at my current level.

Bojangles
Bojangles

You want to start streamlining Gov't efficiency - How about Pay for Permformance! The concept of dolling out raises equally across all employees is far more insulting than this less than cost of living pay increase.

dietz1963

Well lets see, in the last 2 years my rent has gone up 10%, electricity about 5% (usage the same), phone up 7% (usage the same), interest on the only credit card I have went up 7% (usage the same). Goes without saying that food, gas, alcohol and cigarettes have all gone up in the last couple years. But amazingly enough, I haven't gotten a pay raise in these same 2 years with outstanding performance. Time to find a state or federal job I guess....

Helena_man
Helena_man

Bojangles, while I agree that a pay for performance raise system would be the ideal way to go, through my experiences they are too subjective.

lanebru

One percent...Are you kiddin' me? That's a garbage raise. That will help no one. I work in the private sector and would tell my boss to keep his gesture and buy me a 24 pack...oh and I'll be late for work Monday. I see it as an insult to the gov employees. C'mon man.

cwelch2006

I'll take what I can get but I sure wish we didn't have to wait a year. 1 percent in 2011 would have helped alot.

concerned1

Bridge1

Since your so secure with your salary, how about you go ahead and share with us tax payers just what your annual salary is right now? Do I dare say that it probably has as many digits in front of the comma than it does behind it???

Come on. Fess up.

spreiordan

I'd like to see the union publish what the actual results were and how each state agency voted. A minimal pay increase that will swallowed up by increases in health care premiums and out of pocket costs, as well as the cost of living increases.

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