More than 20,000 Minnesota home care workers who are members of the Service Employees International Union will, over the next two weeks, vote on a tentative contract that increases base pay by $2 an hour, increases paid time off and adds two floating holidays, and provides funding for worker training. The agreement, struck on Saturday, followed an 18-hour bargaining session with state officials.
“While we may not have gotten everything that we had hoped to get, we came out with a really good contract, that’s going to help a lot of people,” said Dawn Burnfin, a member of the SEIU bargaining committee and a home care worker, adding that the 15% pay increase is significant. “Many [home care workers] qualify for state assistance for food stamps, Medicaid, and a lot of other things, because we’re still below the poverty level,” she said.
If approved and funded by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Tim Walz, the new contract would take effect in July 2021. Base pay for workers would increase from $13.25 to $14.40 in October and to $15.25 in July 2022. Walz on Saturday tweeted his support of the agreement, saying that home care workers have been “fighting on the frontlines of this pandemic — they deserve to be recognized for it.”