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U of MN hit hard by AFSCME strike

by staff |
September 13, 2007
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Minneapolis, MN - University faculty and students held a press conference, Sept. 11, to decry disruptions caused by the strike and demand the University come back to the table with a fair wage offer.

Anna Clark, professor of history said, "Not only is this strike a disruption from a moral and political perspective, but I have students who are unable to add my class because staff that would normally process the paper work are absent."

She went on to report that 152 classes impacting over 4000 students are being held off campus. 500 students attended a "Teach-out in support of AFSCME workers" held at the Oak Street Theatre today.

Sofi Shank, university freshman added, "I am trying to get oriented to the university and instead of focusing on my classes I am forced to choose between going to class and violating my principles by being asked to cross a picket line."

The student newspaper, the Minnesota Daily quoted Dan Wolters, university spokesperson as saying, "The veterinary clinic is one of the departments hit hardest. It can accept only emergency calls until the strike abates because of the exceptional number of missing employees.” Other areas of the University struggling to deal with the loss of workers are the dental clinic, Boynton Health Service and University Police Department 911 operators.

Disability Services reports that at least 17 classes are without disability accommodation because of the strike. This fact could put the University into a non-compliant status under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition, networking and telecommunications is extremely shorthanded and is having difficulty managing trouble tickets, the regular daily calls for repairs in the Universities technologies services.

Jess Sundin, an AFSCME employee from the Physiology Department said, "It is unacceptable that the University is allowing the education of our students to be disrupted. We really want to go back to work because we care about the education of our students, and we love working with them. The University has the responsibility to come to the table with the money that the legislature allocated for our salaries. We value our jobs and expect the University to value them too."