U employees deserve better

Daily Editorial Board

With negotiations having started on June 6, many University of Minnesota employees have expressed frustration with perceived unfair working conditions and pay.
 
Renegotiating through collective bargaining agreements backed by local unions, workers are hoping to secure a $15-per-hour minimum wage, more flexible sick leave and an increased Regent’s Scholarship. 
 
Common complaints specific to the University range from budgetary issues — such as insufficient pay and understaffing — to clerical workers who are new parents having to use sick days to extend paid leave. Other issues, like raising the minimum wage, are directed to affect the Minneapolis community at large.
 
One of the largest issues for University workers is growing inequality between academic and technical jobs. From 2008 to 2014, workers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees have had staff reduced by about 16 percent. The academic side has fared better during that time, enjoying growth of more than 24 percent. 
 
We feel that because the University is a publicly funded institution that requires professors and auxiliary employees, technical aides and administrative staff, it would do well to recognize that all employees need to be treated fairly. It is unacceptable to continually make only some bear the brunt of cuts.  
 
While the University has committed to reducing excessive administrative spending, it needs to also recognize that its daily functions cannot continue without a healthy and productive support staff — which constitutes a large percentage of its workforce. We urge the Board of Regents to come to a fair agreement with discontented University workers.