Minnesota Historical Society, union reach tentative agreement on first contract

Man and woman hold cardboard signs
Sean Kleinjung and Jennifer Kleinjung, a former MNHS employee, hold signs as they join a rally by AFSCME Local 3173 members in St. Paul on Dec. 17. The union announced Wednesday it has reached a tentative agreement on a first contract with the Historical Society.
Todd Melby | MPR News 2022

Workers at the Minnesota Historical Society have reached a tentative agreement on a first union contract.

The three-year deal between the historical society and AFSCME Local 3173 follows months of negotiations that started after the employees moved to unionize. It still needs to be ratified by union members.

“This is an excellent first contract that will benefit MNHS staff greatly, and we are so proud of the years of hard work that our members have done to make this possible,” the union said Wednesday in a statement posted to Facebook.

Minnesota Historical Society leadership said the agreement is “consistent with our strategic plan, which calls for fair, sustainable market-based compensation for all staff.”

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“This is the product of months of hard work, and we thank the teams for their dedication to our mission and to each other,” the MNHS statement said.

That statement reported that the tentative agreement includes defined pay increases and a minimum wage of $18 an hour.

The union includes about 250 Historical Society workers statewide, including tour guides, archivists and maintenance employees.

AFSCME Council 5 issued a statement lauding the “fair and equitable” contract, stating that Historical Society “workers from across our state, from Moorhead to the North Shore and the Twin Cities area to Montevideo, will live more dignified lives because of this union contract.”

A timeline for a ratification vote was not immediately announced.