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Striking University of Minnesota union suspends pickets after talks


There were signs of progress Friday in the negotiations between the University of Minnesota and its striking clerical and health care workers.

Union leaders were scheduled to update the rank-and-file about negotiations during a noon meeting. A news conference was expected afterward.

Phyllis Walker, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3800, would not comment on the negotiations until the union members were briefed.

Likewise, university spokesman Daniel Wolter said Friday morning that the university had no comment.

Two union Web sites said Friday morning that all picketing was suspended, and a rally planned for 10 a.m. was also canceled.

Nearly 1,000 of the roughly 3,100 AFSCME workers at the university have been on strike since Sept. 5. The university has been open and conducting classes during the strike.

Money is the biggest issue.

The union has said 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 wasn’t enough.

The university counters that when combined with raises for experience, most AFSCME represented employees will receive raises of at least 8.5 percent for the contract’s two years.

Last week, the union rejected one contract offer. AFSCME has said if the university raises salary increases to 3.25 and 3.5 percent, the strike would likely end.

–Associated Press

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