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[Q & A and Benefits] [Shop at Duluth Union Businesses]
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3801 represents UMD Clerical (Unit 6) and Technical (Unit 7) staff on issues pertaining to all terms and conditions of their employment contract with the University of Minnesota - specific to employees of the Duluth campus.
There are varying ways the University of Minnesota and its campuses hire and bargain with its employees. Some are non-union hires, where individual bargaining may take place between the employee and the employer.
Unions embrace the power of the people for everyone to bargain together for their terms of employment at the University. Union hires at the University include both AFSCME-represented employees and Teamster-represented employees, as well as the University Educators Association for faculty.
The University has seen a history of no strikes for 60 years, until 2002. There have been three contract negotiations since then, and two have gone to strike, both with AFSCME-represented employees. AFSCME represents the lowest paid, long-term employment opportunities at the University. Both strikes were about the University desiring to rid of the workers' step increases which rewards longevity. The last strike was unprecendented in that the legislature allotted a 3.25% COLA to both its Teamsters and AFSCME workers in its funding to the University. Teamsters settled with the University's offer of a 3% COLA. AFSCME clerical and technical rejected the 2.25% COLA the University offered to them. The money was there, and once again AFSCME workers are receiving a percent increase that does not keep up with the cost of living. Please see graph (pdf) below:
Many AFSCME workers are women, many are the sole providers of income to support themselves and/or their families. Many are single mothers, some are providing income as their partner is retired and/or on disability. These individuals need fair pay just to keep up with paying for inflation. And yes, some have second incomes with their partners, however, whatever happened to the American dream of equal pay for women? And we're just talking about an equal COLA percentage!