State union workers voting on shutdown dealby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The state's major employee unions are considering a deal that could preserve their severance, vacation and health care even if they're laid off by a state shutdown.
The tentative deal is similar to agreements reached before a threatened shutdown in 2001, and an actual shutdown in 2005. It makes employees eligible for unemployment more quickly, and doesn't require the state to pay out severance packages immediately.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5 Executive Director Eliot Seide said the tentative agreement addresses unused vacation time, health insurance coverage, and calling employees back to work, among other issues.
"We negotiated a memorandum of understanding for the shutdown that we believe protects the rights of unionized state employees during and after a shutdown," Seide said.
The union is recommending approval. AFSCME members are expected to finish voting on it Wednesday, and results of the proposed agreement for other unions are expected to be tallied by June 29.