Gov. Gianforte, MFPE, AFSCME Announce State Employee Pay Plan Proposal
HELENA, Mont. – Following extensive bargaining, Governor Greg Gianforte and public employee unions this week reached a significant agreement for the state pay plan. Covering the 2024-2025 biennium, the agreement includes wage increases, health benefit cost freezes, one-time payments, and other far-reaching contractual changes. This negotiated pay plan addresses challenges faced by state and higher education employees and will keep them doing important work for Montana.
“This agreement reflects our commitment to our hardworking state employees for all they do for Montanans,” Gov. Gianforte said. “As Montanans and all Americans face higher prices and historic inflation, this package will help ensure we retain and recruit qualified, dedicated public employees to serve Montanans. We all came to the table and negotiated in good faith, and I appreciate the union’s collaboration with my team. Together, we negotiated a fair, fiscally responsible deal that provides state employees with competitive compensation, and I look forward to working with the legislature and the unions to approve the plan.”
Unions representing public employees bargain a state pay plan with the governor prior to every legislative session. The bargained pay plan must then be approved by the legislature. This year, union members from the trades and representatives from AFSCME and MFPE joined together for the pre-budget negotiations with Governor Gianforte and his administration. Given increased housing prices, rising insurance costs, and vacancies, the bargaining team set out to secure an agreement that would help retain and recruit talented workers. With those shared concerns, Governor Gianforte instructed his bargaining team to approach the process with similar goals in mind.
All parties are pleased to have bargained a pay plan proposal which promises to deliver for the State of Montana’s workforce. The agreement includes a $1.50 per hour or 4% raise—whichever is greater—on July 1 each year of the upcoming biennium. Single members’ out-of-pocket health benefit contributions, copay amounts, deductibles, and co-insurance costs will not increase through 2025. Additionally, one-time payments prorated to a 40-hour work week and worth up to $1,040 will be provided to every employee. The agreement also provides increased meal per diems and the addition of an annual flexible holiday which will replace every other year’s Election Day holiday.
All parties agreed to further explore locality pay for high cost of living locations in future negotiations. Contract language standardization between the various state departments, agencies, and divisions will also be considered.
“This pay plan agreement is a testament to our bargaining team’s tireless commitment to their fellow MFPE members,” said MFPE President Amanda Curtis. “We recognize Governor Gianforte for his good faith bargaining and his willingness to respond to the needs of the workforce that keeps Montana great. This agreement is hard-bargained and months in the making. I look forward to working with the governor to secure an overwhelming and bipartisan passage through the 2023 Legislature.”
“We appreciate Governor Gianforte for respecting our contracts and investing in state workers,” said AFSCME Executive Director Timm Twardoski. “Too many state workers are leaving for employment elsewhere. Today, Montana recognizes the value of state employees and we begin the hard work of making sure they’re able to continue living here and working on our behalf.”