As the challenges of the response to COVID-19 compounds, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed Emergency Executive Order 20-07, effectively suspending some collective bargaining rights for state employees.
The justification reads.
I also have concluded that to protect the health and safety of Minnesotans and minimize the impact of the peacetime emergency on government operations, state agencies require the flexibility to hire staff, schedule, assign, and reassign employees without adherence to existing limitations in collective bargaining agreements, memoranda of understanding, compensation plans, statutes, administrative rules, administrative procedures, and policies that present barriers to the needs of state agencies to efficiently and effectively mobilize and deploy their workforce during this peacetime emergency. When circumstances allow, Minnesota Management and Budget will work in partnership with the labor unions affected by any adjustments to the provisions of collective bargaining agreements or memoranda of understanding.
AFSCME Council 5 and MAPE responded to the executive order in a joint statement.
At a time when unparalleled actions to this pandemic have become the norm, we must also recognize the magnitude of Executive Order 20-07, which includes the waiving of select collective bargaining agreement provisions. These provisions represent decades of hard work and progressive governance, and this is a serious action taken in a time that requires bold leadership. We won’t stand in the way of the state’s powerful response to this crisis, but we won’t idly sit by if that power is abused. We have worked with the State to put a system in place to ensure these changes are used only to respond to COVID-19. Our job as a union is to make sure that during this worldwide crisis, Minnesota workers are still protected and safe at work.
During this crisis, MAPE and AFSCME have been able to protect wages, hours, benefits and other working conditions. Including:
- Guaranteed paid leave will be extended to all executive branch agency staff (Minnesota Statute 2019, section 43A.02, subdivision 22) who must be absent from work due to COVID-19 in order to care for themselves and their children due to school closures for the duration of the Governor’s Emergency Executive Order 20-01.
- The 35-day waiting period for new executive branch employees to be eligible for insurance has been suspended. All state executive branch employees with less than 35 days of service will now be eligible for health insurance coverage.
In response, the Inter-Faculty Organization (IFO) stated that:
The IFO, in coalition with other public employee unions, has asked for a public commitment by State employers to work with union representatives to swiftly and fairly address issues that arise as a result of this executive order. We also have requested that Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) emphasize in their internal communications with State agencies that these powers are to be exercised exclusively for dealing with COVID-19. As your Union, the IFO is committed to ensuring adherence to this principle.
You can read the entire executive order below.EO-20-07_tcm1055-423539