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Supervisory employees vote 5-3 to join union

Nisswa city department heads voted 5-3 last week to join the Minnesota Public Employees Association (MNPEA) of Roseville.

Voting were the city clerk, police chief, fire chief, planning and zoning administrator, Spirits manager, Pickle Factory manager, parks director and public works director.

The eight mail ballots had to be returned by 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, and were tabulated at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 25, at the BMS.

According to the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) in St. Paul, the status quo order it issued Aug. 19 that prevented the city council from making any staffing changes has been lifted.

That order resulted when some city supervisory employees filed a petition with the BMS to form a collective bargaining unit after the city council suspended police chief Craig Taylor and offered him a resignation settlement a day later. The council indicated it would terminate Taylor if he didn’t accept that resignation settlement.

The council reinstated Taylor nearly a week later after learning the council couldn’t make any staffing changes until the petition for unionization was settled.

The vote means MNPEA will be recognized as the supervisory employees’ representative to form the collective bargaining unit that will negotiate contracts.

According to the MNPEA website, that group was established to provide public employees in Minnesota with an alternative to the standard national and international unions. While most groups MNPEA represents are from law enforcement or corrections, it does represent the city of East Bethel and the city of Jordan clerical workers.