MEA-MFT and our state employee members have launched a new project to build power within state employee locals.
MEA-MFT represents 2,613 State of Montana employees. This project is an effort to reach out and facilitate conversations among state employees and offer training and tools to amplify their voices and address their concerns.
MEA-MFT’s new e-newsletter, “State Employee Update,” is part of that effort. It’s a direct result of MEA-MFT listening to state employee members. These members will periodically receive information relevant to state employees.
Our national affiliates, NEA and AFT, are helping with this project by funding a full time staff person who is working to help us develop as a union through training and any other assistance state employee locals need to achieve success.
A growing number of MEA-MFT state employee members are taking advantage of this project and getting involved. Some of them are making house visits to fellow members (and non-members) about workplace issues and what can be done to address those issues. These members have already visited with over 150 state employees and hosted two trainings attended by colleagues from several state agencies.
Other state employee members are serving on planning committees to organize departmental meetings and interagency, family-friendly social events so state employees who share interests and concerns can meet each other.
This is all in an effort to help state employee members take ownership of their union and celebrate more victories in their workplaces. State employees saw some significant gains in this last round of contract negotiations. After a four year salary freeze, they are receiving across the board 3% and 5% increases. They will also receive 10% health benefit increases in each of the next two years.
These improvements were not gained through the kindness of Montana legislators. MEA-MFT state employee members spent hours during the legislative session visiting the capitol and lobbying legislators to make the right decisions. We have a chance to gain even more ground in our next contract negotiation, but we all need to stand together as state employees.
This is our union. For this endeavor to succeed, we need to get involved. If you are a state employee and one of your colleagues knocks on your door, please invite them in and talk to them. We look forward to building our union together!