MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A union that represents 1,900 clerical workers at the University of Minnesota said members should reject the school's final contract offer and go on strike.
Officials for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said Friday that the deal includes a 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase in the second year but would double insurance costs and eliminate annual 2 percent salary increases.
"We have settled for far less than what we deserve for years, and we know we are worth a lot more," said AFSCME local president Phyllis Walker. Over the years, she said, "We traded wage increases for benefits packages, and now the 'U' is trying to take that away from us."
Meanwhile, the university reached tentative agreements with two other AFSCME-represented groups -- technical and healthcare workers. Carol Carrier, the university's vice president for human resources, said the contract offer to the clerical union was "very similar" to those offered to the other union-backed groups.
"We have been very consistent with all employee groups," she said. "Because of the really difficult budget challenges we're facing, all employees have to share the pain to some degree, as our students are doing with higher tuition."
Carrier said the university would remain open during a strike.
AFSCME has not set a date for a vote on the proposal.
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