Watkins: A big win for SEANC!

Nov 16, 2021

The following is an email to members sent by SEANC Executive Director Ardis Watkins on the state budget announcement.

Hello members,

House and Senate leaders released a budget yesterday that includes raises and bonuses for state employees and a supplement for retirees.

SEANC members' hard work paid off in this budget. Last week, the House's head budget writer Rep. Jason Saine told the media that he had been "bombarded" with calls and emails from state employees and retirees who wanted the budget passed as soon as possible.

We are pleased that the legislature included much-needed raises and bonuses for state employees. Thanks to SEANC's efforts, The budget also includes raises for university and community college employees in this raise. The raises will be paid retroactive to July 1, 2021, with the additional salary from July to December paid in one lump sum with the bonus.

SEANC also lobbied hard for retirees to get the respect they deserved this session, and those efforts paid off with a supplement that is MUCH higher than any of the three original proposals.

Highlights of the budget include:

  • A 5% pay raise for most state employees (including community college and university employees) and an average 5% pay raise for teachers over the biennium.
  • An increase in the minimum wage for all non-certified personnel and community college staff to $15 per hour beginning in 2022.
  • An experience-based step pay plan for corrections that would result in an average raise of 7%.
  • An experience-based pay plan for probation and parole that would result in an average raise of 17%.
  • The creation of a separate cabinet-level agency for adult and community corrections.
  • A 5% supplement for state retirees over the biennium.
  • A bonus for all state employees and local education employees of $1,000.
  • An additional $500 bonus (for a total of $1,500) for employees earning less than $75,000, as well as ALL law enforcement officers, workers in the Department of Public Safety, Correction and Juvenile Justice with job duties requiring frequent in-person contact, and Department of Health and Human Services workers in 24-hour residential or treatment facilities.

We are also incredibly proud that we successfully lobbied for an extension of the $15 minimum wage SEANC got most employees in 2018 to non-certified school personnel and community college staff.

And we cannot overstate that returning funds used for COVID to the State Health Plan and fully funding it for another year is a huge win. We never want to see a situation where raises get eaten up by increases in health care costs, and this move prevents that.

The compromise will be passed by the General Assembly this week. Governor Roy Cooper has committed to signing it as well.

Thank you for your membership in SEANC. It matters.

Ardis Watkins
SEANC Executive Director