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Workers march on U of MN President Kaler demanding raises and respect

By staff |
September 15, 2015
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University of Minnesota workers march for raises and respect
University of Minnesota workers march for raises and respect (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN – More than 60 members of AFSCME and Teamster Local 320 marched to the office of University of Minnesota (U of MN) President Kaler, where they delivered thousands of petition signatures from staff, faculty and students calling on the university administration to give U of MN workers raises and respect. The chant, “President Kaler hear our call, your crummy offer is way too small,” echoed through the halls of the administration building.

President Kaler is currently in contract negotiations with unionized worker at the university. After nearly two months of negotiations, the administration is proposing raises of less than 1%, which amounts to 7 to 15 cents an hour. 223 senior administrators earn more than $150,000 a year, while more than 475 unionized workers make less than $15 an hour, or $31,000 a year. AFSCME and Teamsters are calling for a $15 minimum wage, and raises that will allow workers to get ahead.

Teamster negotiating committee member Mick Kelly told the crowd “We have had enough. We are not going to beg our way to a decent contract. What we do, the action we take, will determine the outcome of this fight.”

Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME 3800, said, "President Kaler's wage offer isn't even enough to pay for bus fare. Many of us struggle to earn enough money to repay student loans, buy a modest house, have a child, or to retire. The 0.375% raise being proposed to clerical workers is an insult. It's like giving a one dollar tip for a nice dinner. The money is there - the administration is just not willing to spend it on frontline workers."

Steff Yorek, an AFSCME 3800 member stated, “With the Kaler administration rocked by scandal after scandal one has to wonder if the administration is trying to hold onto money to pay for lawsuits against disgraced members of President Kaler’s leadership team.”