U union employees spend breaks rallying

BBy Jake Weyer Between 10 and 20 University employees spent their afternoon breaks last week rallying against proposed employee wage freezes and health-care premium increases.

On Thursday, approximately 15 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Locals 3800 and 3937 gathered on the West Bank Plaza carrying protest signs.

“Membership is angry about what’s going on in negotiations,” said Mark Stenseth, a Wilson Library assistant. “We’re out here trying to raise awareness.”

Stenseth said the idea to rally during their 15-minute break came from weekly discussions with fellow employees.

The University is currently in contract negotiations with union members over a proposed wage freeze and changes to employee health-care coverage. AFSCME Local 3800 President Phyllis Walker said that as of last week, no progress has been made.

“I’m deeply saddened that the ‘U’ doesn’t want to acknowledge our contributions,” said Alford Lathrop, who has worked for the University as a selector and library assistant for 40 years. “We’d be hard to replace.”