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MFPE Advocate

March, 2020

In this issue

MFPE Members Doing the Work that Matters

COVID-19 Website Launched for Members

New Benefit to Members: Trauma Counseling
Too Many Employees Don't Have a Union
MFPE: Working for You

Work that Matters

MFPE members do the Work that Matters, even in the face of a pandemic.
MFPE facemasks

MFPE Members Producing Reusable Face Masks for Healthcare Workers

As COVID-19 spreads across the country and our state, Montanans are stepping up to battle the virus, including MFPE member Duff Gray... Keep Reading
MFPE  state lab

Montana State Laboratory Workers Doing Work that Matters for Montana

Montana’s Public Health Lab is a hive of activity on a normal day, but since COVID-19 has hit the State, the Clinical Laboratory Specialists (CLS’s) in the Department of Public Health and Human Services – Laboratory Services Bureau have stepped up their game.. Keep Reading
911 MFPE

MFPE Members Provide Access to Emergency Services During COVID-19 Outbreak

MFPE Member Brandon Skogen is a Public Safety Communications Officer with the City of Great Falls. As such, he is on the frontline of the COVID-19 outbreak... Keep Reading
Sam Harrington MFPE

MFPE Members “Preparing for Increased Need for Assistance”

As COVID-19 spreads throughout Montana, MFPE member Sam Harrington is preparing for increased needs for assistance. Sam, a Client Service Coordinator with the Office of Public Assistance, said... Keep Reading
Special Education

Special Education in the Face of the COVID-19 Outbreak

“Our students are not in school, but that does not stop the need for learning and moving forward with educational goals,” Cherie said. “I am a special education teacher, so that means each of my students need individualized learning packets... Keep Reading

MFPE members continue to serve students despite closures

Even though schools are closed and people are practicing social distancing, MFPE members are continuing to offer services to students and their families through remote learning opportunities and meals... Keep Reading
Send your stories about MFPE members doing work that matters to MFPE Director of Communications Bob Funk at

MFPE Launches COVID-19 Website with Information and Resources for Members

Resource Page
The safety of our members, their families, and the Montana public is our top priority. MFPE is monitoring the situation closely and has launched a resource page for members and their families.
We will update the page as more information becomes available. In the meantime, please use the listed resources and guidelines.
Visit MFPE's COVID-19 Resource Page

MFPE Offering Free New Benefit to Members: Trauma Counseling

Today, all of us could agree that we work in scary and uncertain times. But even before the coronavirus pandemic struck, MFPE understood the stress and strain that comes with the work our members do to heal, help, and serve their communities.

But what happens when our members’ own daily stress is compounded by trauma-inducing events in their own lives? We all know how difficult it is to be fully present for others when we are carrying the burden of our own traumas.

In response, MFPE and AFT are offering a free new benefit for members—trauma counseling. (And, yes, in certain circumstances, a member with a coronavirus infection is eligible for this coverage.) The traumas covered by this new insurance include:

  • An injury due to aggravated assault, sexual assault, a mass shooting or a terrorist act; this includes victims of domestic violence.
  • Witnessing a violent incident at work.
  • Bullying, harassment, or the threat or experience of secondary trauma resulting in a mild, moderate or severe mental health condition and an impairment of function.
  • Contracting an infectious disease at work—including the coronavirus.
  • An injury or infection from a disease during a major disaster, as declared by the National Emergencies Act.

Starting April 1, MFPE and AFT will provide this trauma coverage benefit to all active working members, including those on leave status.

So how does this program work?

The counseling sessions are set up to take advantage of the latest communication technologies—phone, text, video—and to provide help whenever it is needed, wherever a member may be. They are conducted in complete privacy. MFPE members will gain access to the program through the AFT members-only Member Benefits portal. Members will have access to a total of 21 hours of counseling over a three-month period. Everything is confidential.

We’d love to know what questions you have, so we can add them (and answer them!) to our FAQ. Send your questions here.

We want our members to feel the support of their union in their everyday lives. We hope this new member benefit will help us to meet that need.

AFT Member Benefits Portal

MFPE members have a voice in the workplace. Too many employees don't.

Employees need a voice now in their workplaces now more than ever. If you know someone who needs a union, have them contact MFPE Organizing Director Morgan Smith at or call (406) 442-4250

MFPE: Working for You

MFPE has made some major progress on behalf of members since COVID-19 appeared in Montana. 

  • MFPE secured commitments from the Governor’s office to assure that school funding would continue during the current two-week shutdown and beyond.
  • MFPE secured commitments and announcements from the State of Montana providing additional leave and guidance for state employees.
  • MFPE secured commitments and guidance from the Montana University System for staff and is keeping member leaders apprised of developments.
  • MFPE developed guidance, web materials, and resources, including a model MOU co-endorsed by the Montana School Boards Association.
  • MFPE staff have already answered hundreds of calls and e-mails about situations facing members and member leaders all over the state.
If you need assistance, contact MFPE here or contact your MFPE Field Consultant here
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Montana Federation of Public Employees · 1232 E 6th Ave · Helena, MT 59601-3927 · USA