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Teamsters reach agreement with UMN after 4 months of negotiations

Teamsters Local 320 members will vote early this week about whether to move forward with the contract the University offered, which meets many of their prioritized requests.
Teamsters Local 320 protest University of Minnesota pay during the Homecoming Parade, Friday, Sept. 30. Photo courtesy of Jackson Kerr.

Teamsters Local 320 announced the strike that was set to begin next week will be called off due tentatively reaching a three-year contract agreement with the University of Minnesota on Saturday.

Teamsters represents 1,500 service workers at the University and has been negotiating with the University about a contract agreement since the last contract expired in June. Some of Teamsters’ demands were a $20 minimum starting wage for all employees to keep up with current inflation rates, year-round work and the right to negotiate healthcare in future agreements. 

The University offered a final contract on Oct 6. that only included a 3.85% increase for most service workers. Teamsters held a strike vote and voted to strike by a 93% margin if the University failed to meet their requests.

After three days of state mandated mediation with the Bureau of Mediation Services following Teamsters announcement to strike, the University and Teamsters reached a tentative agreement.

According to their statement released Sunday, the agreement includes a $20 minimum starting wage for all Teamsters employees and a 5% minimum increase for Teamsters who have already reached the top of their pay scale. The right to seniority pay is preserved within the agreement as well.

The pay raise was a top priority for Teamsters after a survey showed that of the 458 current and former University service employees, more than 60% University service employees reported not earning enough to cover basic expenses, and more than 8% reported being homeless at one point while working for the University. 

The contract will be backtracked to begin July 1 and expire on June 30, 2025. Employees will be receiving back pay starting in July to compensate for the wage increase, according to the statement. 

Additionally, 12-month dining hall employees will be granted 30 hours a week of summer work in other Teamsters departments at the University. 

Teamsters preserved the right to argue for healthcare in future bargaining agreements, which the University was originally planning to remove from contracts going forward.

The University agreed to make Juneteenth a paid holiday for Teamsters employees for the first two years of the agreement, and it will be re-evaluated during the third year depending on if the Board of Regents recognizes it as an official holiday. 

“Members of the Teamsters negotiating committee feel that there have been significant gains on many of the priorities identified by the membership, and it is worth presenting this agreement for a vote,” Teamsters Local 320 said in their statement Sunday.

The Teamsters members will be voting early this week about whether to accept the University’s offer. As it stands, the strike that was set to begin this week if requests were not met has been called off. 

Other issues agreed upon were transit passes for all employees, environmental sustainability, job postings and agreed upon “market adjustments and cost of living.” The Teamsters’ announcement has more details regarding the additional contract agreements. 

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  • Tonia C
    Oct 24, 2022 at 10:52 am

    UMN Afscme union is also not under contract and has been in negotiations for months.

  • Mary P
    Oct 24, 2022 at 8:45 am

    4 months of negotiations?? Those HR lawyers sure make $$ of this stuff.