Tentative deal averts strike by U of M service workers

People walk down an outdoor corridor.
People walk through an outdoor common area on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis, Minn., on Thursday, August 3, 2020. The U of M reached a tentative agreement with Teamsters Local 320, averting a strike by service workers.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Teamsters Local 320 has reached a tentative contract agreement with the University of Minnesota, avoiding a planned strike this week by about 1,500 service workers.

"Members of the bargaining unit over the course of the three years will see a minimum of 13 percent pay increase, but as well, which was extremely important, was a $20 an hour minimum wage,” said union secretary-treasurer and principal officer Brian Aldes.

Aldes said the agreement also ensures summer workers will get a minimum number of work hours per week, extends health benefits and protects the seniority of service workers.

"There are significant economic gains for the 1,500 service workers of the University of Minnesota, we still have work to do beyond this, but this is a great start,” said Aldes. “We can now celebrate the process of lifting lower wage workers out of poverty."

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The contract affects custodians, dining hall workers, mechanics, research attendants, gardeners, and other service workers at the University of Minnesota.

The tentative agreement needs to be approved by union members, but it averts a strike that was scheduled at U of M campuses in the Twin Cities and Duluth.

In a statement, the University said it was pleased to reach an “equitable settlement that fairly compensates our Teamsters employees”.

The statement said if union members approve the contract, it will go before the University Board of Regents for final approval.