The House has approved the budget bill for the state Industrial Commission – and included in that is a proposal that could end the profit sharing arrangement for workers at the state Mill and Elevator.
The bill would have 75 percent of the Mill’s profits transferred to the state’s general fund. Right now, it’s 50-50.
Rep. Rich Becker (R-Grand Forks) said for those mill workers who are eligible for profit sharing, that could mean a 13 to 19 percent pay reduction.
"We're taking a big impact from them," Becker said. "We're de-incentivizing, and we're going to create severe morale problems by doing what we're doing.
House Appropriations Committee chairman Jeff Delzer (R-Underwood) said given the state’s current budget constraints, now is the time to pull back from the profit sharing.
"This is a union shop -- the only union shop in state government," Delzer said. "They're coming up for a contract. I think we should tell them, profit sharing is out."
The bill passed 68 to 22. It will now go back to the Senate – and will likely end up in a conference committee.