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Workers march into University of Minnesota president’s office

Teamsters, AFSCME demand raises and respect
By staff |
October 31, 2017
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Teamsters, AFSCME members at Oct. 31protest demand raises and respect.
Teamsters, AFSCME members at Oct. 31protest demand raises and respect. (Fight Back! News / Staff)

Minneapolis, MN — About 40 members of AFSCME Local 3800, Teamsters Local 320, and their supporters rallied in front of the admiration building, Morril Hall, Oct. 31 and then marched into the office of University of Minnesota’s President Kahler. Protesting workers then delivered petitions signed by thousands of employees and supporters that read in part, “The university is a wealthy institution with plenty of money, that is in the midst of a $4 billion fundraising campaign. We reject the notion of two universities, one for the haves and the other for the have-nots. We want raises and respect for all university workers.”

Cherrene Horzuk, president of AFSCME Local 3800 told the crowd, “We know the importance of standing up and fighting for what we deserve, not just accepting what those at the top want to give us. We learned the importance of solidarity – we are stronger together. Together with our Teamster brothers and sisters, we are again standing up and fighting for real raises and respect at the U.”

Curt Swenson, a Teamster 320 Business Agent and lead negotiator on the university contract stated that Teamsters are prepared to “stand strong.” Swenson also stated that ballots for the Teamster strike authorization vote would be counted on the afternoon of Nov. 2.

After delivering petitions to Kahler’s office, the workers marched to the Human Resources office, which is responsible for labor relations at the U. The protesters dropped of the petition after being told there was no in charge present to receive them. After leaving the building, sharp-eyed workers spotted the labor relations administrators peeking out of a window. Workers held signs to the windows while chanting, “What do we want? Wages and respect!”

Speaking on a bullhorn, Mick Kelly, a member of the Teamster negotiating committee, pointed to a picket sign being held in front of the administrator’s window that read, “We demand livable wages.” He said, “Next time we will back with signs that say, ‘On strike.’”

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