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University of Minnesota AFSCME Strike

Friday, September 07, 2007
Since the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) went on strike Wednesday, September 5, it has been relatively tame and respectful. However, at this morning’s University of Minnesota Board of Regents meeting, protesters got out-of-hand.
Of the 100 protesters who came to help the striking University workers, several ended up in handcuffs. The University police arrested a portion of the protesters for linking arms and barricading the exit from the board members. It went to far as for the University police to have to threaten the protesters with pepper spray in order for them to cooperate.
Some students did participate in the demonstration, and many students support the University workers in there effort for higher wages to match the cost of living. The University had given the workers a 2.25 and 2.5 percent per year increase; the workers want a 4.5 percent increase to better equal inflation. Jeff Shelman offers much more in-depth coverage of this morning’s dilemma in his article for Star Tribune.
The strike has not affected the University badly after only three days; Pioneer press reported that there have not been many disruptions thus far. However, the University expects to soon be feeling the delays and problems of missing almost 6 percent of their employees.
From my experience, one of my Teaching Assistants is on strike, and one of my classes is going to be held outside of University buildings. Not to mention you cannot go outside on campus without being reminded of the strike. Protesters are everywhere. Just this morning, things got a little rowdy on Washington Street near Cofffman Union. Protesters were near the street with signs and motorists were getting out of their cars at the stop lights to shout words of encouragement to the strikers. Many students and faculty have shown their support for the strikers, and hope that a deal can be worked out quickly and productively.
Star Tribune Article:
Pioneer Press Article: