Thursday, September 20, 2007

Strikers, U return to bargaining table

By Jeff Shelman, Star Tribune

From the Star-Tribune

Last update: September 20, 2007 – 11:22 AM

The University of Minnesota and striking clerical, health care and technical workers are returning to the bargaining table today.

University spokesman Daniel Wolter said that the AFSCME-represented workers requested the meeting.

The workers have been on strike since Sept. 5. Since then, the university made one contract offer, but it was rejected by the union. Slightly less than 1,000 workers of the approximately 3,100 workers covered by the contracts remain on strike.

The biggest issue in the strike is money.

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.

AFSCME has said that if the university bumped the salary increases to 3.25 and 3.5 percent, the strike would likely end.

On Monday, a number of students and faculty members and union supporters began a hunger strike.

Those people have gone nearly four days and consumed only water and juice. Marion Traub-Werner, a graduate student in geography and one of the hunger strikers, said the group has been in contact with a nurse as one of the participants is being impacted by not eating.

No comments: