Governor Pawlenty Urges State Employees to Take Days Off
Governor Tim Pawlenty wants state workers to take over a month off over the next two years in order to help the state budget deficit.
The plan was proposed to AFSCME Council 5 and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, the two largest labor unions representing state workers.
Pawlenty’s plan proposes workers take 48 unpaid days off over the next two years. In statements to their members, both unions called the proposed furlough a “bomb”, the Pioneer Press reported Friday
AFSCME Council 5 represents around 19,000 state workers, while MAPE has over 12,000 members, the Star Tribune reported Thursday.
In a statement on their website, the AFSCME says the pay cuts are not feasible.
“Who can pay their bills after the loss of one month's pay,” the statement reads. “Worse yet, he’d give managers the right to arbitrarily decide who gets furloughed, when they get furloughed, and for how long. That's an invitation for the boss to play favorites.”
The statement accuses Pawlenty of trying to “balance the budget on the backs of AFSCME state employees who earn $37,000 on average.”
The state currently has a projected budget deficit of $4.6 billion over the next two years. The unpaid time off is just one aspect of a plan to try and decrease the deficit. Other measures include a state-wide pay cuts and a hiring freeze.