University of Minnesota workers suspend strike, weigh offer to end more than 2-week walkout

MINNEAPOLIS

Clerical and health care workers at the University of Minnesota abandoned picket lines Friday and will vote on a contract offer that could end their more than two-week-long strike.

Union leadership called the proposal inadequate, but many workers said they may have to accept it because they can’t afford to stay off the job.

“I think at this point we really feel like we all need to get back to work,” said union member Emily Kreitzer, who still planned to vote against the measure. “We don’t make enough money to save up for a strike like this.”

Nearly 1,000 workers went on strike Sept. 5. They were to return to work Saturday.

University President Robert Bruininks issued a news release saying the school looks forward to welcoming the strikers back. University spokesman Dan Wolter didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking further comment.

Union leaders put out a statement calling the settlement inadequate.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3800 represents about 3,500 workers, about 17 percent of the employees in the University of Minnesota system statewide.

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 isn’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.

–Associated Press



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