The Minnesota Senate today approved contracts that give 35,000 state employees a 2 percent pay hike. The new contracts cover seven different bargaining units including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5, and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees.
Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, says it's time for state employees to get a raise.
"They deserve decent salaries and they do deserve an increase in their salaries and they haven't had that for three and a half years," Goodwin said. "I'm tired of this public employee bashing. I'm tired of this teacher bashing. These are the folks who do the work, the tough work, in Minnesota."
The Senate voted 40-25 in favor of ratifying the contracts.
Republicans were unsuccessful in efforts to require state employees to pay something for their health insurance coverage.
GOP Senate Minority Leader David Hann says he thinks the contracts are too costly for taxpayers.
"This is an example where we're going to spend a lot of money, we're going to pass a contract that's going to pay a lot more," Hann said. "it's an example of a larger theme that we're seeing emerge here that we're being asked to pay more and expect less and that's what this contract represents."
The House is expected to ratify the contracts next week.
The contracts will be retroactive to January 1st and expire on June 30th.
Gov. Dayton is negotiating with the state's labor unions for the next round of contracts.
State employees currently pay a portion of their health care benefits.