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January 2014 Newsletter

Jan 2014 Newsletter

3rd Montana Health Center

3-Sept8:00 amMDTGlendive MDT
3-Sept10:30 amDawson CollegeDawson Community College -UC 102
300 College Dr
3-Sept1:00 pmDawson CollegeDawson Community College -UC 102
300 College Dr
3-Sept7:00 pmSleep InnSleep Inn
Tongue River Room
1006 S Haynes Ave
Miles City
4-Sept9:00 amSleep InnSleep Inn
Tongue River Room
1006 S Haynes Ave
Miles City
4-Sept12:30 pmPine HillsPine Hills
4 N Hayes Ave
4-Sept2:15 pmPine HillsPine Hills
4 N Hayes Ave

July Newsletter

MPEA July Newsletter

Billings Health Center

Billings Health Center

April Newsletter

April Newsletter

MDT Update

MDT Negotiations

Mail ballots were sent July 2nd for the purpose of ratifying the 2013-2015 collective bargaining agreement.



Please notice that MDT has a new Field Representative, Raymond Berg.

He is planning to have meet and greets around the state in the near future. Presently he has visited Lewistown, Miles City, and Glendive MDT offices. Raymond would like to meet new leaders or have conversations with members interested in becoming more active. Please feel free to contact Raymond at the Helena Headquarters at 1-800-221-3468 or email him at to assist in scheduling upcoming meetings in your district.

March Leader

Legislative Leader March 2013

Health Screenings

Ready for a round of health screenings for state workers? Here’s the schedule!

MDT Ratification

MDT Chapter Ratifies Contract

MPEA’s Highway Department Chapter ratified its collective bargaining agreement July 10. There are a number of improvements in the contract, according to MPEA Field Services Director Dick Letang, principal negotiator.

All employees  will now be able to select either overtime or compensatory time in April or October. In the past, such a designation had to be made in January.

The ratified contract improves shift differential for Motor Carrier Service Officers by using 10 p.m. instead of midnight as the start time.

Oil/gas activity in Eastern Montana has impacted everyone needing a place to stay for the night. To assist in solving the problem, the ratified agreement will enable construction workers to pick up an additional $12 per night for use of a camper or RV. This is on top of the current per diem and lodging.

Letang said that the telecommunications technicians will receive a $5 increase for their tool allowance. This raises the unreceipted tool allowance to $40 per month.

Negotiating with Letang were Jodi Bachini, from the Helena lab; Tom Stuber, with the planning division in Helena; MCS Officer Brad Martin, Helena; Clay McLendon, MCSAP Great Falls; Pete Thelen, construction engineer, Kalispell; Ken Golob, Lewistown; and, Kevin Atkins, MCS, Billings.

State Agreement

In June, Legislative Fiscal Division Estimates $481 Million Ending Fund Balance

Agreement Reached on Pay, Health Insurance

As has been reported, the tentative agreement on wages and health insurance for state workers for the coming biennium was overwhelmingly approved by members of MPEA, MEA-MFT and AFSCME, the three unions involved in negotiating the agreement

The ratified agreement increases base pay, across-the-board, by 5 percent in the first full pay period in July 2013, and by another 5 percent the first full pay period in July, 2014. Significantly, the pay increases begin in July. This biennium’s agreement with the administration had January start dates and despite the small size and late start-up dates of this biennium’s negotiated proposal it wasn’t adopted by the legislature, and for most of the past two decades pay increases didn’t become effective until October.

The ratified agreement also calls for an increase in the state’s contribution to the health insurance program. This biennium there were no increases to the health plan. The ratified agreement calls for an increase of 10 percent in January, 2014, and another 10 percent in January 2015. The health plan uses a calendar year. This will increase the current contribution of $730 per month to $803 in 2014 and to $884 in 2015.

A number of health care changes are about to be implemented. Most of the federal Affordable Care Act isn’t fully implemented until January, 2014. The primary care clinic for the state employees is getting ready to open this summer. Montana is grappling with its Healthy Montana Kids program.  The next couple years should give planners an idea of what the impacts will be from these efforts.

The ratified agreement also provides for a biennial appropriation of $75,000 to fund the labor/management training initiative.

The total biennial cost (all funds) has been estimated at $138 million.

In June , the Legislative Finance Committee received what has come to be known as the Big Picture report which provides a preliminary review of the financial condition of the state for the 2015 biennium.

The report estimates an ending fund balance of $481.4 million, or, $331 million higher than the $150.4 million estimated by the 2011 Legislature.

The report cites the following as the principal reasons for the increased revenue:

Revenue is currently estimated to be 5.1 percent higher in the 2013 biennium than anticipated during the session.  Revenue in the 2015 biennium is currently anticipated to be 7.1 percent higher than the revenue in the 2013 biennium.

Spending growth rates have slowed from growth rates in previous biennia. Specifically, secure care in the Department of Corrections has leveled off; inflation for schools that is statutorily based is anticipated to be 0.89 percent in fiscal year 2014 and 2.3 percent in fiscal year 2015; and the growth of Medicaid caseloads  appears to have slowed from previous growth  rates.