The Subcommittee on Employee Relations (SER) assists the legislature by providing interim approval of negotiated agreements, arbitration awards, and compensation plans for employees in the executive branch. It also monitors the state civil service system and makes recommendations regarding certain state and local government salaries. (Minnesota Statutes 3.855)
State Employee Negotiations
The executive branch of the State of Minnesota employs approximately 50,000 people. About 90 percent of these employees are placed in one of 17 occupationally-based bargaining units, which are represented by one of eleven unions. The unions negotiate collective bargaining agreements that establish the terms and conditions of employment. Traditionally, these agreements are valid for two years and coincide with the state biennium. Minnesota Management and Budget represents management and negotiates on behalf of the state with the exclusive representatives.
Once a tentative settlement has been reached, employees in the bargaining unit vote to ratify the agreement. The contract is then presented to the subcommittee, which must accept or reject the agreement within 30 days. The subcommittee may not modify a collective bargaining agreement. If the subcommittee does not approve or reject it within 30 days, the contract automatically goes into effect.
Four of the bargaining units are defined as "essential" which, under Minnesota Statutes, prevents them from engaging in a strike. If one of these bargaining units reaches an impasse, either party may request binding arbitration to resolve the issues at impasse. The arbitration award must also be approved or rejected by the subcommittee.
About 10 percent of state employees are not represented by a union. The terms and conditions for these employees are determined in one of four compensation plans: the Commissioner's Plan, the Managerial Plan, the MnSCU Personnel Plan for Administrators, and the HESO Unclassified Compensation Plan. These plans are also reviewed and approved by the subcommittee. The subcommittee may modify a plan, and the plan does not go into effect until the subcommittee has approved it.
The subcommittee tracks various costs related to the collective bargaining agreements and compensation plans in a tracking sheet called a Salary Settlement Chart. Settlement sheets dating back to 1992 can be found by selecting the "Subcommittee Data" dropdown box above.
The subcommittee also reviews and approves, rejects, or modifies recommendations for salaries submitted by the governor or other appointing authority under section 43A.18, subdivision 5, covering agency head positions listed in section 15A.0815, and salaries of officials of higher education systems under section 15A.081, subdivision 7b.
Salaries of individuals employed by political subdivisions (excluding school district employees) are limited to 110% of the salary of the governor. This amount is adjusted by the CPI in January of each year. This adjustment is calculated by the Commissioner of Management and Budget. See Local Gov't Salary Cap And Salary Waiver Process.