Teamsters to vote on U’s final contract offer

Teamsters who work at the University of Minnesota will vote soon on whether to accept the U’s final contract offer, received early this morning after a marathon mediation session, or go on strike.

“We will continue to educate the membership on the contract offer, but also continue to prepare for a possible rejection and work stoppage,” Teamsters Local 320 President Sami Gabriel said in a press release issued by the union today.

Local 320 represents about 1,500 university employees, including custodians, food-service workers and groundskeepers throughout the U of M system.

Voting will take place by mail over a two-week period. The union’s bargaining team did not issue a recommendation to members on whether to approve or reject the offer.

The proposed two-year contract makes some progress on issues Local 320 members prioritized in negotiations with the university, including a $15 wage floor. Other compensation-related provisions include $300 lump-sum payments, step increases and, for workers at the top of their pay scales, raises of 2 percent in each year of the contract.

In addition, workers would be allowed to use to six weeks of accrued leave without losing their bid position for assignments, an increase from the current cap of two weeks.

Union members were seeking contract language that would bolster protections for workers against harassment in the workplace. The U’s final offer calls for remaining issues to be “worked out on a continual basis through a Meet and Confer process between Teamsters Local 320 and the University’s Office of Human Resources.”

Brian Aldes, the union’s secretary-treasurer and principal officer, said university workers have some high-profile support in their fight for a fair contract.

“This offer is the culmination of nine months of negotiations and state-facilitated mediation between Teamsters and the University of Minnesota,” Aldes said. “We put the University on notice with strike authorization last November and yesterday we were honored to receive the support of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA).”

Local 320 members aren’t the only university workers voting on a contract proposal this month. Clerical workers at the U, members of AFSCME Local 3800, are taking a ratification vote this week on a proposed two-year contract, reached in negotiations Dec. 13.

AFSCME members, Teamsters and members of other bargaining units will discuss labor relations at the state’s land-grant university during a panel discussion tomorrow night (Jan. 10) at the East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier St., St. Paul.

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  1. […] the athletes are standing in solidarity with bakery workers fighting for a union in Minneapolis and Teamsters weighing a strike at University of Minnesota campuses […]

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