… in the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes that the most charitable description of what’s been going on at the clubby University of Minnesota medical school would be “bizarre.”
Monday, September 17, 2007
The university calls "unfortunate" a decision by students to go on a hunger strike in solidarity with clerical, health care and technical workers. A professor and a U employee joined the students.
By Jeff Shelman, Star Tribune
Last update: September 17, 2007 – 8:45 PM
Phyllis Walker, the president of the local representing the clerical workers, said some of the AFSCME strikers are uncomfortable with the hunger strike.
"I was worried about them at first, but they are adults," Walker said. "This is important to them, they're making their own decisions, and we're really honored. ..."
This is wrong on so many levels. AFSCME membership is not honored and should immediately call for an end to the student hunger strike.
The union says the university's contract offer of a 2.25 percent annual raise for clerical and technical workers and a 2.5 percent raise for health care workers isn't sufficient. The U's position is that when combined with step raises for experience, most AFSCME represented employees will receive raises of at least 8.5 percent for the contract's two years.
On Friday, the union turned down an offer in which workers would have received a $300 lump sum during each year of the contract while keeping the base increases the same.
"Our members have told us many times that lump sums don't have any lasting impact on their wages," Walker said.
AFSCME has said that if the university bumped the salary increases to 3.25 and 3.5 percent, the strike would likely end.
Wolter [University spokesman] declined to comment when asked why the university would not apply the money for the lump sum toward increases in base pay.