HB 13 finally gets its hearing

3-17-15

Please take action: Contact members of the House Appropriations Committee. Urge them to vote DO PASS on HB 13.

You can leave a message for the entire committee by email here or by calling 406-444-4800.

State employee Rich Aarstad, MEA-MFT secretary-treasurer and senior archivist/historian at the Montana Historical Society, was one of the folks to testify for HB 13 March 16. He also wrote the following letter to the editor about the HB 13:

HB 13, the state employee pay plan, always provokes tricky politics and anxious times for state employees. 
 

For example, throughout the 2013 legislative session, Republican legislators urged state employee unions to submit a pay plan with a flat dollar increase, not a percentage increase.  This to more equitably compensate workers at the bottom of the pay scale. 
 

So, this session, we did so proposing in HB 13 a fifty-cent an hour increase for each year of the biennium.
 

Now we hear Republican legislators believe we tricked them back in 2013 when they rejected HB 13 as introduced and punted Governor Bullock a bag of money and told him to figure out pay increases with us after the session adjourned. 
 

Well we figured it out using no more money than the 2013 legislature appropriated for the pay plan.  Apparently, however, we did this is a way Republican legislators did not anticipate.  So in retaliation, Republicans are now insisting on a two-percent reduction in each state agency’s personnel services budget, a cut that will impede agency efforts to fill vacant positions and provide timely, quality services to Montanans. 
 

Mind boggling to see how far some legislators will go to frustrate the services state employees provide. 
 

I urge all legislators to stop playing politics with HB 13, stop changing your mind when we bring you the pay plan you asked for, and stop this truculent attitude regarding state employees.  Give HB 13 as introduced a chance.
 

Rich Aarstad
Secretary-Treasurer
MEA-MFT


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