Monday, September 17, 2007

11 students stop eating to support U strikers

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.

This is where Carrier math finessed things in the blanket email commented on earlier this evening.

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.


momo said...

From parsing the various stories on MPR, in the Strib, the Daily and the strike bulletins, my understanding is that the Teamsters already signed a contract that keeps their step system intact, and gives them 3% on top of that. The U is offering AFSCME 2.25 and 2.50 but trying to make them counting the step increases as part of the wage increase, although not all employees are eligible for them every year. In other words, they are trying to do away with step increases for AFSCME workers. To increase the wages by 3.25-3.5%, it would cost the U an extra 1.1 million. This, in comparison with the $4 million bailout package to the two departed coaches, money that will leave the state, and which Maturi has been quoted as saying must in part be borrowed from Central as ticket sales will not cover it. So two loser dudes get 4 mill, but the folks who catalogue books at McGrath and change diapers at UMCCC get insults and we get contemptuous BS, and a lot of pissed off legislators. Gee, thanks.

Mr. B. said...


Your summary is pretty much my, perhaps imperfect, reading of the situation. I would be happy to learn otherwise from the administration but their strategy seems to be to ignore, obfuscate, and try to keep the rest of the community confused about what is actually going on here.