AFSCME Council 72 reaches agreement on Missouri state worker pay raise

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 72 announced Friday it has reached tentative agreement with the state of Missouri on a proposal that will give Missouri state workers a 2 percent wage increase in the 2013 fiscal year.

According to an AFSCME press release, the announcement comes after nearly two years of bargaining by AFSCME with the state, which had not provided an across-the-board pay increase for state workers over the last three fiscal years.

The 2009 Government Employee and Payroll Report, released in August 2010 and based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, showed that full-time Missouri state workers take home the least pay of workers for any state, earning 34 percent less than the national average for state employees.

“State workers care for our veterans, provide comfort to the severely disabled, and keep Missouri citizens safe. It is appropriate those workers see their wages adjusted better to reflect the vital importance of their work,” said Susan Kendall, a nursing assistant at the Cameron Veterans Home and member of the AFSCME bargaining team which negotiated the tentative agreement. “We appreciate the good-faith bargaining of the Nixon administration on reaching this agreement, as they consistently balanced the goals of retaining quality staff and keeping a state budget in balance.”

AFSCME believes Increased pay for state workers will ensure that Missouri can attract and retain quality employees.

“No one who works in a state veterans home or mental health facility is in it for the money,” said psychiatric technician Nispa Bryant of Kansas City. “State workers do our jobs because we care about sick and elderly Missourians, and this increase will help us serve those communities even more effectively.”

AFSCME Council 72 represents two statewide bargaining units of Missouri state employees: Direct Patient Care employees and Craft & Maintenance employees.These units of workers are employed across departments and divisions of Missouri government. The nearly 8,000 workers in these units are the people working at the point where essential services are provided –in state mental facilities, in the halls of veterans homes and supervising inmates at correctional facilities.

The tentative agreement between AFSCME and the state must still be finalized and later ratified by a vote of the membership before other components of the agreement can take effect. AFSCME expects the 2 percent across-the-board pay increase to be included in Gov. Jay Nixon’s budget proposal in January 2012.

“This marks an important step forward for those who dedicate their careers to service of Missouri, but it’s just a start,” said Travis Case, an AFSCME bargaining team member who works at Northeast Correctional Center in Bowling Green. “We look forward to continuing to work with the state and members of the legislature on making sure workers have what they need to provide the very best services to Missourians and keep them safe.”

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