Our union, our voice
Our union, MEA-MFT, has launched a new project to build power within the state agencies it represents. MEA-MFT represents 2,613 State of Montana employees. This project is an effort to reach out and facilitate conversations among our co-workers and offer training and tools to amplify our voices and address our concerns.
MEA-MFT's new e-newsletter, "State Employee Update," is part of that effort. It’s a direct result of MEA-MFT listening to us. Every two weeks, we will receive information relevant to state employees. Our national affiliates, NEA and AFT, are helping with this project by funding a full time staff person, who is working to help us develop as a union through training and any other assistance we need to achieve success.
A growing number of us are taking advantage of this project and getting involved. Some of us are making house visits to fellow members (and non-members) about workplace issues and what can be done to address those issues. We have already visited with over 150 state employees and hosted two trainings attended by our colleagues from several agencies.
Other colleagues are serving on planning committees to organize departmental meetings and inter-agency, family-friendly social events so we can meet other state employees who share our interests and concerns.
This is all in an effort to help us take ownership of our union and celebrate more victories in our workplaces. We saw some significant gains in this last round of contract negotiations. After a four year salary freeze, we are receiving across the board 3% and 5% increases. We will also receive 10% health benefit increases in each of the next two years.
These improvements were not gained through the kindness of Montana State Legislators. As many of you are aware, MEA-MFT state employee members spent hours during the legislative session visiting the Capitol and lobbying legislators to make the right decisions. We have a chance to gain even more ground in our next contract negotiation, but we all need to stand together.
This is our union. For this endeavor to succeed, we need to get involved. If one of your colleagues knocks on your door, please invite them in and talk to them. We look forward to building our union together!