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U of MN workers say no to poverty wages, crash elite fundraising event

By staff

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Minneapolis, MN – While Minnesota’s elite assembled for a University of Minnesota fundraising gala, Sept. 23, where the price of admission was a half-million dollars, about 200 campus workers and their backers crashed the party.

After rallying at the Coffman building, where union leaders put forward demands for raises and respect, workers marched to the site of the fundraising gala, Northrup Auditorium.

Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME Local 3800, told the crowd that university workers were ready and willing to fight. Mick Kelly, a member of the Teamsters Local 320 negotiating committee, led the crowd in chanting, “What’s outrageous? Poverty wages!” Kelly also stressed the need to “do whatever it takes to get the kind of raise we deserve.”

According to a statement from the unions, “Frontline staff are currently negotiating for decent raises to keep up with the cost of living. The university is offering us pennies for the first year and nothing for the second year, claiming that they don’t have money for staff. At the same time, they are in the middle of a $4 billion fundraising campaign of which zero will go to frontline staff or to reduce tuition costs for students.”

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