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Tentative agreement ends strike

by University News Service

From eNews, November 13, 2003

The University of Minnesota reached a tentative agreement with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) clerical units on Tuesday, Nov. 4, ending a 15-day strike by the union. The AFSCME clerical units represent about 1,900 employees on all U campuses. We value our clerical employees and are very pleased to have them return to work, says U President Bob Bruininks. There is no doubt that a strike is disruptive, and we are hopeful that we can quickly return to our normally collegial environment. Bruininks says the University is satisfied with the outcome and that parameters of the agreement are consistent with those accepted by other employee groups. In general, over the biennium, all employee groups are assuming a greater level of cost sharing for health care benefits, a one-year wage freeze, and wage increases of 2.5 percent in the second year. This is a very fair proposal that addresses the concerns of AFSCME members and will ensure that these positions remain competitive in the market, says Bruininks. At the same time, it is financially prudent and responsive to the huge budget challenge the University is facing. A state mediator called the parties back to the bargaining table on Sunday, Nov. 2. After an all-night session, bargaining resumed the next day at 6 p.m. The University also reached a tentative agreement of comparable terms with AFSCME Unit 4, representing about 170 health care workers. The contract proposals will go to the Board of Regents in December, pending approval by AFSCME members. For information on Employee & Labor Relations, see http://www.umn.edu/ohr/er/.

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