U. Minn. workers to vote on contract

As union leaders emphasized that the struggle will continue, the AFSCME negotiating committee at the University of Minnesota decided last week to call off the union’s strike and submit the administration’s contract offer to the membership without a “yes” recommendation.

Members of four AFSCME locals representing some 3,500 university technical, clerical and health care workers struck Sept. 5 over pay issues.

Strike supporters said that after a marathon 15-hour session Sept. 20, the university refused to alter its previous offer, though the strikers had earlier soundly rejected it.

The administration’s proposed two-year contract includes cost-of-living increases of 2.25-2.5 percent, plus steps and a $300 lump sum payment in each year.

The negotiating committee acted as the loss of wages and the impending loss of health coverage were placing severe economic stress on many strikers. AFSCME members will vote next month whether to accept the offer or “reject and strike,” which would authorize a new walkout 10 or more days after the vote.