It’s official: MEA-MFT and the Montana Public Employees Association (MPEA) will join forces.
The plan adopted by both unions would create a fully merged organization by next summer.
Delegates at MEA-MFT’s 2017 representative assembly (RA) this spring voted unanimously to pass New Business Item #1, which states:
“With the full support of our brothers and sisters in the Montana Public Employees Association (MPEA), the 2017 MEA-MFT representative assembly directs the president to seek full merger with MPEA in governance, programs, and services no earlier than August 1, 2017 and no later than July 1, 2018.
“To effect this merger, the president and his representatives shall work with MPEA representatives to design and propose a name, constitution, pertinent policies, and dues structure for MPEA and MEA-MFT consideration and adoption at regular and/or special representative meetings of both unions.”
MPEA delegates followed suit at their annual meeting in May, passing a similar measure unanimously.
“This is just the beginning of a journey that’s not going to take very long,” MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver told RA delegates. “So hang onto your hats.”
Leading up to the vote at RA, MEA-MFT Executive Director Erik Burke and MPEA Executive Director Quint Nyman updated delegates on the process of merger exploration.
Burke reminded delegates that last year’s RA passed a new business item directing MEA-MFT to pursue merger with the MPEA.
Since then, he said, “we’ve held three meetings with MPEA during the past year, talking about our similarities and differences.”
Years of cooperation: Burke noted that the two groups have worked together extensively over many years. “There wouldn’t be a public employee pension without MEA-MFT and MPEA,” he said.
“We fought privatization together. We created Work that Matters together. Department of Revenue employees are already members of both unions. We have the same concerns and values. It only makes sense to combine forces. We will create a new organization that reflects the best of both MEA-MFT and MPEA and grow it to be as powerful as we can.”
Nyman told delegates, “There’s a place for everyone in this new organization. We’ll be working together like never before.”
What’s next: A merger task force made up of MEA-MFT and MPEA leaders met in Helena July 17 to draft a constitution for the new merged organization.
Plans call for MEA-MFT and MPEA leaders to present the constitution to members at regional meetings across the state this fall.
In January 2018, MEA-MFT will hold a special RA and MPEA will hold a special meeting to discuss and vote on the proposed constitution. Assuming both unions’ delegates approve the constitution, the first annual meeting of the new merged union will take place April 6-7 in Helena to elect officers and board members.
Combined newsletter ahead: Beginning soon, MEA-MFT members and MPEA members will find a new newsletter in their mailboxes. The two unions will produce a combined newsletter, tracking merger progress and news from both unions.