News Column

Minnkota approves union contract

January 31, 2014

By Jessica Holdman, The Bismarck Tribune, N.D.

Jan. 31 --The Minnkota Power Cooperative approved the long-delayed contract with unionized workers at Milton R. Young Station Thursday. "We look forward to moving ahead with the contract that we agreed upon," said Luther Kvernen , vice president of generation, in a statement. The contract will run from April 1, 2013 , to March 31, 2016 . The contract includes 3 percent pay raises and a company-matched 401K. The 3 percent has been the standard increase for utilities employees across the state, said Darrell Keslch, business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1593 , during an earlier interview on Jan. 23 at the union's office in Hazen . In exchange, workers have agreed to pay 15 percent to 20 percent of health care costs, Keslch said during the interview. "It's not the best deal," he said. He added that both the union and the company made concessions to reach the agreement. Keslch said in the interview Minnkota was the last power company still paying the full cost of health care for employees. Others companies' unionized employees pay a portion of health care. All of Minnkota's other employees across the state were paying a portion of their health care already. Minnkota employs roughly 120 IBEW members. Employees will receive retroactive pay for those months worked at a lower wage after the contract expired. ___ (c)2014 The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, N.D.) Visit The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, N.D.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Source: Bismarck Tribune (ND)

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