Our Fight for Raises and Respect Continues

Our union exists to improve the lives of workers at the U of M. We do that by negotiating a contract every two years to try to get the best wages, benefits and work rules that we can. We also have stewards in the workplace that make sure the contract is followed, and that defend us when management violates the contract. But none of this happens on its own – we can only accomplish our goals by being well organized and having as many members as possible involved in our union.
In our last round of contract negotiations two years ago, we organized together to win one of the best contracts we have had in years, and one of the best contracts for public workers throughout the state. We won 7% salary increases over two years for most clerical workers, a $15 minimum wage for all AFSCME members, six weeks paid maternity leave, and a commitment from the University to work on the issue of workplace bullying. We won these things by waging a public pressure campaign that pointed out the inequities between employee groups at the U, by being proud and visible union
members at work, by building coalition with other unions on campus, and by strengthening solidarity with faculty, students, and non-unionized staff.
The 2015-2017 contract began to close the gap between the haves and have nots at the University, but there is still work to be done. We know that long term workers are struggling to earn enough to retire with dignity. We know that our health insurance, while good, is still unaffordable for many. We know that it can take 27 years to get to the top of our pay scales. We know that most un-ionized workers can’t afford to go to school here, much less send our children here. We know that the U is still refusing to codify within our contract the rights of trans people to work without discrimination. We know that unionized workers at the U represent the greatest level of diversity among staff – in terms of race, gender, and socioeconomic class. We are the faces that look familiar for the diverse student body – yet we are often invisible to the administration and Board of Regents.
As we begin a new round of contract negotiations, we re-dedicate ourselves to the ongoing effort to make this a University where all workers, not just those at the top, are able to make real economic progress. We will continue our fight for Raises and Respect.
Negotiating Committee Elected
At our December membership meeting, all the U of M
AFSCME locals agreed to form a Joint Negotiating Committee for the 2017-19 Contract. Cleri-cal, Technical, and Healthcare workers from throughout the University system will speak with a unified voice in contract negotiations.
Congratulations to the AFSCME 3800 members elected at our February membership meeting to represent their fellow cleri-cal workers on the joint bar-gaining committee: Rosetta Chears (CEHD), Angie Hoffman-Walter (CUHCC), Cherrene Horazuk (HHH), Kenneth Mendez (Crookston), Brad Sigal (CEHD), Steff Yorek (Surgery), and alternates: Nick Demm (UROC) and Nora Last (CLA).
At our February membership meeting, we also elected the first 58 members of our 2017 AFSCME Assembly.
The Assembly brings together representatives from departments, colleges and campuses throughout the University to set priorities, organize our con-tract campaign, and be a con-duit between the Joint Negotiating Committee and our members in the workplace. New Assembly members will be elected at our monthly membership meetings. Go to afscme3800.org/assembly for a full list of Assembly members.
Join Our Assembly
We are building the power of our Union by expanding our Assembly. Our successful contract campaign in 2015 was in large part due to the organized efforts of our Assembly. We came together
life and we acknowledge that your time is precious. Being on the Assembly is an important commitment you are making to yourself, your coworkers, and your future. Assembly members are encouraged to participate at a level that works for you. At a minimum, we ask that all Assembly mem-bers agree to distribute information to 5-10 coworkers each month, to attend monthly Assembly meetings, and to be a conduit of information be-tween your coworkers and our union leadership. Beyond that, the level of activity can be as little or as great as you choose.
If you would like to join the Assembly or nominate a coworker to be on the Assembly, please send an email to afscme3800@gmail.com.