Striking clerical, technical and health care employees at the University of Minnesota are going back to work. Union members officially ended their strike today and will return to their jobs on Saturday.
After 15 hours of mediation, the negotiating committee of University of Minnesota AFSCME Union representing the striking employees decided to take the University Administration's settlement offer to union members for a vote and call off the strike, which began Sept. 5.
The two-year contract offer contains a 2.25 percent cost of living increase for clerical and technical workers, a 2.5 percent cost of living increase for health care workers, plus annual step raises for experience and a $300 lump sum in each year. Workers who don't receive step increases will get an additional $300 in each year. This offer will go to members without recommendation from the negotiating committee.
"We are forced back to work because we can no longer sustain the loss of salary and a looming end to our health care coverage. A typical striker earns $34,000 a years and qualifies for food stamps if supporting a family of four. We remain shocked by the administrations absolute disregard for people's lives," said Denise Osterholm, President of UMD Local 3.
About 1,000 of the 3,100 workers -- represented by AFSCME -- have been on strike since Sept. 5 over pay.
The university's position was that when combined with step raises for experience, most workers represented by AFSCME would receive raises of at least 8.5 percent for the contracts two years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.