Minneapolis employees who collect garbage and maintain streets voted Monday to accept a new labor agreement with the city, avoiding a strike at the end of a tense negotiation for higher wages that lasted more than a year.

The new agreement with workers represented by LiUNA Local 363 includes a 7% compounded pay increase over three years.

The city's previous offer of a 1.5% raise in 2021, 2.5% in 2022 and 2.5% in 2023 was rejected last month by workers. They sought greater recognition for the risks they took in the past pandemic year to respond to civil unrest and homeless encampments at the behest of city leaders.

The new agreement also includes an additional $2.61 per hour of overtime, increasing the ceiling on work hours for which employees can be compensated from 64 to 80 hours. Health care and retirement benefits will not decrease.

"The latest offer is an improvement to previous proposals and includes better conditions than contracts other unions have negotiated with the employer," LiUNA Local 363 stated in a news release.

"Our front-line workers have kept Minneapolis functioning throughout the most challenging circumstances we have seen in generations because they are passionate about serving the people of this city," said union business manager Tony Kelly. "The City has started to recognize these sacrifices in this agreement, but there is more work yet to do."

The tentative agreement will now go before the City Council for authorization.

"This agreement represents a great deal of effort and commitment by both parties and we believe it is a fair agreement that honors the work of these important public servants," said city spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie.

Susan Du • 612-673-4028