Negotiations 2021-2023

UMN AFSCME Bargaining Update #1 - Opening Day of Bargaining - June 1, 2021:

UMN Management Opening Proposals 

UMN AFSCME Opening Proposals

VIDEO: AFSCME Bargaining Report

AFSCME Locals 3800, 3801, 3937 & 3260 at the University of Minnesota held our opening bargaining session with the University administration on June 1, 2021. After months of collaboration, and with much input from members on significant workplace issues and effective ways to address them, our Bargaining Committee brought 7 single-spaced pages of proposals to the opening day of negotiations with the University, laying out a comprehensive vision for a workplace that ensures health and safety for EVERYBODY at the University, demonstrates respect for workers, compensates us fairly, ensures the ability for remote work and flex scheduling, and proactively addresses systemic racism by expanding access to union jobs. 

After an hour of lecturing us on how grateful we should be just to have a job, the University management team brought their 4 bullet points to the table. They include maintaining the MOUs in the back of the contract and cleaning up typos. Their only proposals of substance are a proposal for a one year, rather than standard two year, contract, and a 1% across-the-board general salary adjustment. That is a far cry from the 5% annual increase we deserve and proposed. 

The University is attempting to spin the events of the past year -- the losses and hardships we have faced -- into a narrative that we should feel grateful to have jobs at all.  We remember that AFSCME had to fight for the U's emergency responses -- for safer working conditions, adequate PPE, and work-from-home wherever possible; pay continuance for workers who could not work remotely; and paid pandemic leave -- separate from sick or vacation accruals -- available to all employees. They are claiming that 1.5% and a one year contract is the absolute best that they can do. In their finance presentation, University Budget Director Julie Tonneson claimed that the University is basically emerging from the financial hole caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They need to do better for frontline workers.

One of our highest priority proposals is for the University to require a COVID vaccine for all faculty, staff, and students to work and/or study on site. As an institution of academic inquiry, we MUST follow the science and not succumb to politics. Many of our members have continued to work on site throughout the pandemic - risking their own health and that of their loved ones - in order to keep the University running. Many other members have serious health conditions or have loved ones with serious health conditions where being vaccinated themselves is not enough. The University is obligated to ensure a safe and healthy working and learning environment for our entire University community. We have lost at least one AFSCME coworker and a Regent to COVID. We must do everything we can to ensure we don’t lose anybody else. We are asking our members, as well as faculty, other staff, and students, to sign on to a petition urging a vaccine mandate. Go to the link at the bottom of the screen, or to to sign on.

We also proposed a comprehensive plan for flexible work location and flexible hours that includes a clearly laid out process that has employees in the drivers’ seat rather than leaving decisions in the hands of supervisors. The focus of our next day of bargaining on June 14 will be on the details of flexible work procedures.

When we stand together, we change what is possible, and we lift as we rise. Workers keep the University running, so the more rank-and-file support we have in the room, the more leverage we will have at the table. We win better contracts when we are mobilized! 

To that end, we are building a strong organizing wing of our union: the Member Action Team! The MAT was already instrumental in turning out members to the opening session of bargaining and they will continue to drive member involvement and actions throughout bargaining. If you are interested in getting more involved, email us to get in touch with a MAT member in your area.

The University’s message in bargaining is that they don’t care about us.They think that we should be grateful to work here. We are vital to them and our solidarity is what drives home the win. Together we all rise.

We are your UMN AFSCME bargaining committee and we are fighting for the contract and workplace we all deserve:

Co-chairs: Cherrene Horazuk, Maggie Kilgo, Deb Pavlica, Geraldine Hughes

Committee Members: Mary M Austin, Rosetta Chears, Will Clashe, Kim Dery, Sarah Eckel, Dom Fritzke-Brenny, Amanda Greenhart, Rob Hietala, William Hill, Mahva Jones, Nicole Masika, Chi Phung, Andrea Sande, Sarah Vast