Legislature and the North Dakota Public Employees Association

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North Dakota Public Employees Association

Dear Thomas Seymour,

The 61st Legislative Session was the longest in the state’s history. For me, it was 79 days of lobbying, compromising, testifying, and fingernail-biting culminating in the State Senate’s adjournment at 12:21 a.m. Tuesday morning. We did not get everything we asked for, but I think that North Dakota’s state employees, including those working in higher education; have a lot to be happy about.

The state legislature appropriated 5% salary increases for state employees (including higher ed.) in 2009 and 2010. All employees who have performed their jobs satisfactorily are assured of a minimum $100/month salary increase. This means that employees making less than $24,000/annually will receive more than a 5% raise. Despite a dramatic increase in the cost of our health insurance premium, the entire cost will continue to be covered as part of our benefits package. Finally, a pool of $16 million was appropriated for state employees working in the executive branch agencies to move their salaries closer to market value.

NDPEA also worked to influence policy makers regarding a new oil trust fund. As you recall, NDPEA worked very aggressively last fall to oppose Measure 1. The designers of this new “Legacy Fund” considered our opposition to Measure 1, and addressed nearly all of the concerns voiced by our opposition campaign. Like Measure 1, this fund requires a change to ND’s Constitution, and, consequently, will be subject to a vote of the people.

NDPEA will publish a more complete legislative report at a later date that will include a report card of all of your state legislators based on their voting record on issues important to public employees.

This was truly an historic session for public employees. Our compensation package for the upcoming biennium is unlike anything our state employees have ever seen. However, even after these increases, our state employee salaries continue to lag behind the market. Now is not the time to be patting ourselves on the back. Rather, now is the time to build up our numbers. We must increase our organizations muscle with state policymakers by adding more members. We would be happy to send membership cards to any of you that believe you could find a friend to sign one.

I would welcome any recommendations or suggestions that you, as members, have for increasing our membership. If you are getting this e-mail as a non-member of NDPEA, I would encourage you to contact our office today (1-800-472-2698) for more information.

After 79 days of lobbying the legislature, I took the day off on Tuesday. I spent half the day trying, in vain, to catch up on sleep. But when the sun came up this beautiful morning, I had to get back to work. The legislature will meet again in 2011, and we have A LOT of work to do before then.

In service,

Stuart Savelkoul

Executive Director, NDPEA

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