By Todd Wineburner
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal employees has ratified its contract with the state. The new pact covers 35,000 workers in the state and union officials say 96 percent of the membership supported the agreement with the state. A tentative deal was struck at the end of February. AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Henry Bayer says the new contract allows for the state’s fiscal woes, while still recognizing the work done by union members. “AFSCME members are on the front lines every day,” Bayer says. “They care for the elderly and people with disabilities, protect public safety, maintain state parks, respond to emergencies and more. They often work without sufficient staff or resources, going the extra mile to provide services that residents rely on, and they deserve to be treated fairly.” The contract includes 1.3 percent salary increases each year of the 3-year contract. Step increases will be provided as scheduled, and longevity pay will be adjusted for workers with more than 10 years. For their part, union members will pay higher health care premiums, co-pays and deductibles.