Posted at 11:13 AM on June 29, 2011
by Paul Tosto
Minnesota's two largest public employee unions have ratified an agreement with the state that will protect all the rights of laid-off workers while saving taxpayers millions in layoff costs if state government shuts down Friday.
"This agreement protects our health insurance and it ensures that we will be able to return to work with all our benefits intact," explained Eliot Seide, director of AFSCME Council 5 and chief negotiator of the deal. "But, it also means laid-off state workers won't get severance or vacation checks during the shutdown. Once again, state employees are doing their part to fix the budget."
* State employees will be deemed critical whenever possible vs. contract employees.
* Seniority by contract will be used as much as possible when assigning critical duties.
* Employees will not be eligible to have their vacation, comp and severance paid out due to the shutdown.
* Health, dental, and optional insurances (if you have them) will stay in effect for July, the employee's share of the premiums will be deducted out of the July pay checks. If the shutdown goes into August, employees will stay enrolled in insurance and have their share of the premiums deducted after their return to work. Employees can opt out of insurance starting August 1st if they choose to.
* Employees that submitted their intent to retire in the month of June may rescind their resignation by June 29th at 5 pm.
* All employees will be recalled to the position they were working prior to the shutdown.
* All time off work due to the shutdown will be considered "time worked" for purposes of seniority and calculations towards eligibility for insurance purposes.