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Pennsylvania state employee unions begin voting on proposed contracts

Tentative agreements cover about 36,000 members of the AFSCME Local 13 and SEIU Local 668.
LM Otero
Tentative agreements cover about 36,000 members of the AFSCME Local 13 and SEIU Local 668.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Members of two large state employee unions are voting on proposed contracts with Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro's administration, including one that would deliver pay raises of more than 20% over the next four years.

The tentative agreements cover about 36,000 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 13 and Service Employees International Union Local 668, Shapiro's administration said Friday. Voting could last weeks.

Neither union leaders nor Shapiro's administration agreed to provide details of the tentative agreements before anything is ratified.

However, reported that a copy of the proposed terms for 27,000 AFSCME members under Shapiro's jurisdiction shows that members would receive raises of 20.25% over the contract's life, including 5% right away.

The agreements come after inflation spiked in 2021.

“We’re hopeful that the tentative agreement is something that will help our members as they deal with a lot of the impacts of the current economy,” said Steve Catanese, SEIU 668’s president.

Employees across state government are represented by unions, including nurses, state troopers, corrections officers and social services caseworkers.

SEIU and AFSCME members are coming off a four-year contract that expired July 1 after delivering raises of 16.75% over the contract's life.

The Independent Fiscal Office, a legislative agency, estimated in 2019 that the just-expired AFSCME contract would increase salaries and benefits by $827 million over the deal's four years, or almost 11%.

Shapiro's administration said talks continue with 13 other labor unions representing state employees.