9/4/07

AFSCME confirms tomorrow's strike plan

At a Labor Day rally in St. Paul Monday, union members reaffirmed their intentions to walk off the job at the University of Minnesota. "Our members are willing, ready, and able to walk out on Wednesday and it's going to have a huge impact on the University of Minnesota," Phyllis Walker, President of AFSCME 3800, said.

Walker said more than 3,000 clerical, technical, and health care workers are planning to strike on the second day of classes. Walker says the strike will continue until the university improves its offer. The strike announcement was expected after the union rejected the latest contract offer and no new talks were scheduled.

The university says its offer would have provided 94 percent of AFSCME employees with at least a 4.5 percent pay increases in each year of a two-year contract. The union calculates the university's offer at 2.25 percent per year for clerical and technical workers and 2.5 percent for health care workers.

The university says it has contingency plans in place to keep the university operating during a strike.

"There are going to be some services that are going to be delayed, but we are doing everything we can to keep it business as usual," University Spokesman Dan Wolter said.

"When the students come in on Wednesday, they're going to find that there isn't anyone in the library to help them," Walker said.

Walker said union members are willing to talk, if university officials call them back to the bargaining table.

"The ball's in the university's court," Walker said.

(kare11.com)

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