U, employees negotiate through the night

An official said the University and health-care workers were making progress late Monday.The "U" and its cleri

T The University was still in negotiations with its health-care workers’ union at 11 p.m. Monday.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3260, the union representing more than 170 University health-care workers, began negotiations with the University at 1 p.m. Monday.

Union and administration officials hoped the two sides would reach an agreement Monday night, but if not, union members said they were ready to join striking clerical workers on the picket lines.

AFSCME Locals 3800 and 3801, the unions representing approximately 1,900 University clerical workers, have been on strike since Oct. 21.

At about 11 p.m. on Monday, Carol Carrier, vice president for the University’s Office of Human Resources, said the two parties were making progress in reaching an agreement.

Union members said they were ready to strike at 7 a.m. today.

“I believe we have to do this,” said Irene Thiele, outpatient clinic assistant and Local 3260 member. “We’re going to fight and get what we can get.”

Cindy Kiecker, an outpatient clinical assistant in the dental school and Local 3260 member, said she wore her long johns

Monday night in preparation for a strike.

She said she and other receptionists who work in her building have been training temporary workers since Wednesday to fill their positions during a strike. Kiecker said she had a difficult time training her replacement knowing that she would be helping the University.

“I wasn’t about to relinquish my chair,” she said.

Kiecker said her temporary replacement will probably be able to handle the workload, but those in other departments will not.

“It’s going to be a disaster,” she said. “I really feel sorry for those patients.”


Negotiations between the University and its clerical employee unions were still in progress at 11 p.m. on Monday.

At 6 p.m. Monday, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Locals 3800 and 3801, representing about 1,900 clerical workers on the Twin Cities, Morris, Crookston and Duluth campuses, resumed negotiations after a 13-hour break.

The unions have been on strike since Oct. 21 over proposed wage changes, health-care cost increases and benefits reductions.

At about 10:30 p.m. Monday, University and union officials said negotiations could likely continue into the early morning hours for the second day in a row. Union members said they hope an agreement will be reached but are willing to continue striking if necessary.

Carol Carrier, vice president for the University’s Office of Human Resources, said she hoped negotiations would end earlier than Sunday’s round. Depending on schedules and the progress being made, negotiations could be scheduled again, she said.

Phyllis Walker, president of AFSCME Local 3800, said she is not surprised negotiations are taking this long.

“When you go on strike, you have to be prepared for every possibility,” she said. “Clerical workers are prepared to continue the fight.”

Clerical workers said they are disappointed in the University’s negotiating tactics.

“I think the administration has been stubborn to say the least,” said Rebecca Preston, a principal administrative specialist in the department of psychiatry and Local 3800 member. “It seems to me that they are putting very little effort into negotiating with the union.”

Jared Cruz, a principal administrative specialist in the department of microbiology and Local 3800 member, said he is disappointed in the University for taking such a strong stance in negotiations, but he is not surprised.

“I’ll stay out for as long as it takes,” he said. “I think people are in this for the long haul.”

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