U of M workers reject contract, prepare to strike

Strike looming
Phyllis Walker is president of AFSCME Local 3800. Workers at the University of Minnesota rejected a contract offer Friday and are preparing to go on strike.
MPR Photo/Art Hughes

Clerical, health care and technical workers at the University of Minnesota rejected a contract offer and could go on strike as early as Sept. 4, according to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees local.

The union said 72 percent of the workers who voted on the contract offer rejected it.

"We have all taken a stand for our standard of living. Let's get back to the table. This vote shouts out for a wage offer that enables us to make real economic progress," said a statement issued Friday by AFSCME's negotiating committee.

A September strike could disrupt the start of fall semester.

Carol Carrier, the university's vice president for human resources, said the school was disappointed in the vote, which she said was "a fair and competitive package." She said 94 percent of the workers would receive a 4.25 percent salary increase for each year of the proposed contract.

"The university is ready and willing to continue negotiations with AFSCME to avert a strike," she said.

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