One of the many functions performed by the MSPTA is contract negotiations. As we all know, we have filed for arbitration because we could not come to an agreement with the State. In my article for this edition of the Minnesota Trooper,I will briefly explain our negotiations process.
The MSPTA is a member of the Minnesota Law Enforcement Association (MLEA). MLEA consists of all licensed peace officers of the Executive Branch of the State of Minnesota excluding supervisory employees. According to the MLEA Bylaws, members are: Local 1 the Minnesota State Patrol Troopers Association; Local 2 Minnesota Conservation Officers Association; Local 3 the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Agents Association; and Local 4 that consists of the Minnesota Gambling Enforcement Agents Association, the Minnesota Fugitive Apprehension Agents Association, and the Commerce Fraud Agents Association. There are currently 788 peace officers in MLEA. Here is the breakdown of the MLEA members:
- State Patrol 539
- DNR 156
- BCA 64
- Commerce 13
- Fugitives 10
- Gambling 6
The MLEA elects a Board of Directors to negotiate our contract with the MMB. The local associations that make up the MLEA get a set number of representatives on a 13-member board based upon the member size of their association. As the largest group in MLEA, the MSPTA has the most members on the MLEA Board of Directors. The MSPTA has seven members on the board, the DNR has three, the BCA has two, and Local 4 has one member. MLEA also hires an attorney to assist in the collective bargaining process. The troopers who are currently on the MLEA Board include Mike LeDoux, Gabe Cornish, Pat Miles, Dave Koski, Jon Carlson, Gerry Hanson, Daren Berglund (alternate), and myself. Mike LeDoux was elected President of the MLEA Board for the current round of negotiations.
The MLEA negotiates our contract with the State to determine terms of employment every two years. Our current contract expired on June 30, 2017. When we negotiate with the State, we are bargaining with the state agency known as Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB). The individual state law enforcement agency heads attend negotiations and they do have influence on the process. However, it is MMB that has the real power for the State’s side of the negotiating process.
One of our top priorities we while working on this round of contract negotiations has been to bargain for wage increase above the MMB’s typical “pattern settlement.” “Pattern Settlement” is the MMB practice that all workers in state unions get the same percentage of pay increases. The problem with this approach is as state peace officers, we keep falling further behind in wages compared to salaries paid to our allied agency partners.
According to Appendix J of the MLEA Contract, the State (MMB) and the Association agreed to use the wages and benefits paid to large suburban police departments and the University of Minnesota PD (the Stanton V Group) as a guide in negotiations. Below are the wage comparison charts of the Stanton V Group and the MSPTA at the time of hiring, after year one, and after year seven when a trooper reaches the top of our pay scale.Copy of Copy of MSP Salary Chart
Law enforcement agencies across the nation are facing a crisis in hiring and keeping well-qualified peace officers. The State of Minnesota is no exception. The MLEA Board strongly believes pattern settlements are hurting our recruitment and retention. We believe the evidence is clear and convincing that there is a shortage of qualified people choosing to commit to a career in law enforcement. We are asking MMB to acknowledge these facts so we can work together in a highly competitive job market. In order for the State of Minnesota to continue to hire and retain the best and brightest to be state peace officers, the State needs to pay wages that are at least equal to our comparable allied agencies.
It is my hope that our membership now has a better understanding of the negotiation process. I also hope the members have a better respect and appreciation for our negotiation team members both past and present. They have all invested a great amount of time and effort into this challenging process for the betterment of our membership.
In closing, please take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Be there for your partners. Remember to stay alert, be cautious, drive within your capabilities, and make it home safely at the end of your shift. Live to enjoy our well-earned pension.
Stay Safe and Be Well,
- The 33rdAnnual MSPTA Golf Tournament was held July 11-12 at Dacotah Ridge Golf Club in Morton. Thanks Troopers Mike Lee #36 and Carl Hoffman #82 for organizing a great event.
- We had a large turnout for the annual Retired Trooper Day on August 7 in St. Cloud. MSPTA Secretary Rick Harjes did a great job organizing the event.
- Janus Case- MPPOA Executive Director Dave Metusalem wrote a nice piece on the Supreme Court’s ruling on this case. With his permission, we included his article in this edition of the Minnesota Trooper. Please read!
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