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Minnesota: Campus AFSCME workers to picket meeting of President Gabel and deans

By staff

Cherrene Horazuk, President of AFSCME 3800.

Minneapolis, MN – AFSCME at the University of Minnesota is holding an informational picket on Monday, October 10, from noon until 2 p.m. at Walter Library on the East Bank campus here. This coincides with a meeting between President Joan Gabel and Twin Cities deans at the same location. They will demand university leadership respond to their demands for raises, respect and racial equity.

Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME 3800 and executive office and administrative specialist at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, said, “AFSCME UMN locals are currently in joint contract negotiations with the U. The university has created a system of haves and have-nots with vast inequities between workers and administration. The U can’t recruit or retain support staff at the current rates of pay. We need our wages raised by $3 an hour. The university’s wage proposal doesn’t even keep up with inflation, and would therefore result in a pay cut for the lowest paid workers at the U.”

Claudia Velsasco, dental assistant and AFSCME 3260 bargaining team member, added, “The university administration lauds their diversity and inclusion efforts, but needs to put their money where their mouth is. They are refusing to give raises to workers who help translate for non-English speaking patients. They are refusing to make Juneteenth a paid holiday, even though they announced their intent to do so two years ago. And they refuse to give our American Indian workers time off to participate in tribal elections, while lauding voter participation rates for state and federal elections.”

Lindsay Knoll, senior research veterinary technician in Research Animal Resources, said, “Along with our Teamster-represented coworkers, we do the behind-the-scenes work that ensures faculty can carry out their important and life changing research. The U’s poverty wages and short staffing have led to higher than average injury rates and challenges in keeping research facilities safe, clean and functional.”

Horazuk added, “The university began bargaining by asking for our assistance in addressing recruitment and retention issues. The solution is easy: pay competitive wages and benefits that move us forward rather than backwards – and put action, not lip service, to issues of equity and diversity.”

As university leaders meet inside Walter Library, unionized staff will be conducting informational picketing outside to demand raises and respect for frontline workers.

#MinneapolisMN #UniversityOfMinnesota #AFSCME3800