During last year’s round of contract negotiations, PROTEC17 State members ratified a contract that included no cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) through the 2021-2023 biennium, as well as scheduled monthly furloughs. While the PROTEC17 bargaining team agreed to these provisions reluctantly after a long summer of negotiations, we did so acknowledging two things: 1) There were more questions than answers with regard to the state of the budget, and 2) as State employees, we knew that – like during the great recession – we may have to make sacrifices for the greater good of our communities and our workforce as a whole.
Since we’re obligated by statute to ratify the contract by October 1st of the year preceding the biennium, we couldn’t wait – we had to act to get a contract in front of the Governor and the legislature for their approval. But, included in that Tentative Agreement (TA) was language that said either party could re-open the contract ahead of the biennium for the purpose of reducing or eliminating the furloughs. We have begun this process and we are cautiously optimistic that we’ll be successful in either reducing or eliminating the scheduled furlough days. This is the result of a combination of factors, including a robust relief bill coming out of Congress and a better-than-expected revenue forecast.
If you have questions about the reopener, please ask your Union Representative. We will also update State members via email when we have news.