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U of M says no more money for workers - strike set for Sept. 5

by staff |
August 29, 2007
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Minneapolis, MN - Last week the University of Minnesota AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) heard from 72% of its members that the Aug. 10 offer of 2.25% and 2.5% were not acceptable wage proposals. They rejected this offer and voted to authorize a strike.

U of M AFSCME came to the table Aug. 29 and made major moves on the wage proposals.

Phyllis Walker, President of AFSCME 3800 and negotiating committee member said, "The university responded to our opening proposal with no change in their proposal whatsoever. Their offer remains at 2.25% for clerical and technical employees and 2.5% for healthcare employees. They tell us that there is no more money to put on the table for AFSCME employees. Over the course of our negotiations we have been consistent in our message to the university that AFSCME employees need to make up for years of decreasing job value. Our wages have not kept up with inflation."

Barb Bezat, President of AFSCME 3937 and negotiating committee member added, "We know that it takes only $1.1 million for each percentage increase for our members. This is out of an overall operating budget of close to $1.5 billion. The U of M AFSCME Joint Negotiations Committee cannot in good conscience ask members to accept this non-proposal."

Greg Knoblauch, a technical worker at the university and negotiating committee member, added, "Two days ago university spokesman Dan Wolter said, 'This strike is completely avoidable, and the university is ready and willing to continue discussions with the union to prevent one.' Coming to the negotiating table with nothing to offer is not continuing discussions. It is an insult to all 3500 AFSCME employees at the university."

Rhonda Jennen, President of the AFSCME 3260 and negotiating committee member, said, "We're not asking for money to support luxury lifestyles. We're standing up for a standard of living which allows us to pay our mortgages, feed our kids and heat our homes."