City employees in Paynesville are exploring possibility of forming unions
PAYNESVILLE -- Paynesville city employees are considering unionizing. The city was notified last month that employees have petitioned for membership in two unions. Petitions to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or ...
PAYNESVILLE -- Paynesville city employees are considering unionizing.
The city was notified last month that employees have petitioned for membership in two unions.
Petitions to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees have been submitted, Mayor Jeff Thompson said. The state Bureau of Mediation has met with the City Council about the city's role in the process.
The City Council has until today to submit where it thinks each employee should be classified, Thompson said in a telephone interview Thursday. Three bargaining units are being considered for supervisory positions, essential roles, such as police, and non-essential roles, such as administrative staff, Thompson said. The council discussed the deadline Wednesday at its meeting.
The employees are being split into different groups so that all staff wouldn't be able to strike at the same time, Thompson said.
"It's set up so the city won't shut down," he said.
The city has 15 employees, some of whom are seasonal and part-time and may not qualify for union membership, Thompson said.
The employees will vote on whether to form the unions, he said.
The City Council is not able to find out who is petitioning for union membership or the reason in order to protect employees from possible retaliation, Thompson said. The council is not supposed to ask employees about the union or in any way influence their decision, he said.
The city cannot request that some employees not belong to a union, he said. It also cannot make rules about how the voting can taking place or impede the process in any way, he said.
During this process, the council cannot change employee compensation, benefits or status, or change personnel policies, Thompson said.
The city has hired an attorney who specializes in union negotiations, he said.
No mediators were available for comment Thursday afternoon at the state Bureau of Mediation.
Also at the meeting, the council determined that an environmental impact statement is not needed for a mixed-use development planned for north Paynesville. More than 200 acres was annexed into the city and will be developed into residential, commercial and light industrial lots, Thompson said.
An environmental assessment worksheet, which is a screening tool used to determine a project's potential environmental effects, has been completed on the project.
The council also approved the final plat for the fifth addition of the Ampe residential development in southeast Paynesville. This addition will have 12 homes.
Also at the meeting, the council learned that the Minnesota Design Team will be visiting the city in the spring of 2007.