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December 8, 2007

Gang Member guilty in Slaying

The Star Tribune reported that on Friday a jury found a gang member guilty of murdering a teen in Minneapolis.

Jeremy Jackson, 21, of Richfield was found guilty in Hennepin COunty District Court of first-degree murder in the gang-related shooting.

Jackson shot Gennaro Knox on Oct. 5, 2006, in south Minneapolis.

Jackson is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 8, the Star Tribune said.

Jackson, a member of the gang Bloods killed Knox, because he was mistaken for a rival gang member.

Knox was bicycling with a friend in the 2400 block of elliot Avenue S. Knox was shot three times in the head and neck and killed one year ago.

Before this conviction there was one hung jury, before Jackson was convicted.

"My client still maintains his innocence," Jackson's co-counsel Thomas Harmon said after Friday's ruling. "He has to live with the verdict."

Knox's mother said she was satisfied that the verdict and hopes the verdict sends other gang members a message.

"You live by the gun, you die by the gun," Knox said. "That young man will have plenty of time to learn from the mistake he made."


Cancer related to Asbestos in Iron Range Workers

A new state health report was released Friday and gave few details as to why Minnesota Iron Range miners have a higher rate of asbestos-related cancer, the Pioneer Press reported.

The report covers the employment history of 58 miners and found that the men worked for six companies in various parts of the Range and were miners for as little as a year and worked up to 30 years. Some miners were mechanics and others mined in ore pits.

The cause of the cancer is still known, and state health experts said they haven't ruled anything out.

The report found that men in northeastern Minnesota are twice as likely to have mesothelioma as men in the rest of the state.

The minnesota Department of Health and the University of Minnesota are seeking $5 million from the Legislature to find the cause of the increase in cancer rates and access risks for miners today.

The increase in this cancer only shows up in miners and not the whole region, meaning there is not an environmental risk, the report said.

Previous attempts to access the the health problems were stopped by budget cuts, Dr. Alan Bender f the Minnesota Department of Health said.

Mesothelioma is a deadly lung cancer caused almost exclusively by asbestos the Pioneer Press reported. People can be diagnosed years after the exposers, six miners were found to have cancer 60 years after their exposure.

The Star Tribune found that the miners came from seven companies instead of 6 as the Pioneer Press reported, and also stated that the mining companies were spread throughout the range and not concentrated in the east.

In 2003 a study by the Health Department found that the most likely cause of the cancer came from commercial asbestos located in boilers and other equipment at the mines.

Miners do not agreement with this reason and former U.S. District Judge Miles Lord said that the department had not considered all the factors.

November 30, 2007

Men robbed and made to strip

The Pioneer Press reported that tow men were charged with first-degree aggravated robbery this week after the allegedly robbed two male college students at knifepoint.

Gary Gene Littlesoldier, 18, and James Wayne Davis-Drew,19, both of St. Paul allegedly forced the two males into a car and drove to the lower Afton/Battle Creek area of St. Paul and stole their wallets and ordered them into the woods without their shoes or pants.

The two suspects followed the two 19- and 21-year-old students after they left a party at 435 Van Buren Ave. late Saturday night, a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court said.

The victims are students at Eau Claire, Wis., and had driven to the party, but left because they felt uncomfortable, the criminal complaint said.

The complain says, as the victims left the house, Littlesoldier and Davis-Drew asked them for a cigarette and one pulled out a knife.

"One of the suspects said he had a gun."

The suspects told the victims that they would be killed if they went to the police, the complaint said.

The victims went to several houses and called the police.

Activist win Case against two City Council Members

Minneapolis activists win $3 in a free speech case against two Minneapolis City Council members Thursday, the Star Tribune said.

Al Flowers won $3 from City Council Members Don Samuels and Paul Ostrow.

Flowers said in the Star Tribune that the council members used their positions to get rid of his public access TV show.

Minneapolis will be required to pay attorney fees for Flowers, roughly $50,000.

Jill Clark, Flowers attorney, said that the verdict was worth the fight, but it didn't satisfy Flowers or the council members.

The conflict between the two sides occured, after Flowers had a guest on his show that called Samuels a "house negro" and urged all "house negroes" to be killed.

Samuels said that he feared for his family after the show aired in May 2005.

Samuels had filed a grievance, and Flowers was suspended for three months and was allowed to return to air.

Flowers and Samuels run against each other in politics, after a boundary was redrawn in north Minneapolis.

Men robbed and made to strip

November 12, 2007

16-year-old suspected of raping 5 strangers

A 16-year-old has been charged with raping two women who he didn't know in Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reported. The boy is suspected in three other recent rapes in the Twin Cities, authorities said Monday and has been taken into custody.

Leonard Miles of Columbia Heights raped a woman around 1 p.m. on Oct. 5 and three weeks later grabbed a woman off of her bicycle and raped her around 7 p.m., court documents said.

He told the victims he had a gun, according to the charges.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he will seek to have Miles tried as an adult.

Miles is suspected in three other unsolved rape cases in the last month.

The Star Tribune said, Miles was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping and could receive a prison sentence between 20 to 30 years.

Miles was arrested on Oct. 24. Miles denies rapes.

WCCO said the an off-duty police officer recognized the suspect from a description. Miles was found with one of the victim's cell phones, Sgt. Jesse Garcia, Minneapolis police spokesman, said.

Wetlands in Minnesota

The Star Tribune reported that in Minnesota there is an increasing problem of the disappearance of "prairie potholes" or small ponds and wetlands.

Potholes are a habitat for almost 200 species of migratory birds, the Star Tribune said.

Farmers are ending land-preservation agreements and filling in the land to have more places to plant crops, because of the federal inducements to plant more and the financial rewards of renting out land.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is investigating if potholes are being illegally drained, by flying over the landscape.

A study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office "estimated that it will take 150 years and billions of dollars for the agency to acquire enough land to sustain healthy bird populations."

Because of the increased cost of land, landowners can make more money by renting rather than leaving it in it's natural state.

Around 420,000 potholes are currently in Minnesota and purify water.

In the 1990s contracts were signed by farmers for 10- to 15- year agreements to leave the land as a wildlife habitat, but the trend is changing to turn the land to farm land once the contracts are up, Brent Olson, a farmer in the area, said.

The demand for corn to make ethanol is encouraging farmers to plant more crops.

Draining the potholes will worsen the water quality and increase flood severity, Steve Delehanty, wetland district manager for the Fish and wildlife Service in Morris, Minn., said.

This was the only article I could find on this feature.

November 6, 2007

Man charged in the Murder of Minneapolis Biker.

The Pioneer Press reported on Monday that the Minneapolis man that was charged with murdering a bicyclist in September, claimed it was a drug deal that turned into a robbery, police said.

Donald Eugene Jackson, 23, was charged with beating Mark Loesch to death. Detectives said that whether drugs were involved or not, it is not an issue in the murder.

"It doesn't matter why Mark Loesch was at 37th and Elliot that night. He didn't deserve to die," said Minneapolis police Lt. Amelia Huffman.

Jackson is charged with second-degree murder and is being held at the Hennepin County Adult Detention Center. Jackson was arrested on Friday.

Loesch, who was an avid cyclist, went out for a bike ride on Sept. 12, but never came home. He was find the next morning by a 12-year-old boy walking to school.

Loesch's body was found 11/2 miles from where he lived.

He suffered three blows to the head, which fractured his skull, the medical examiner said.

Loesch approached him that night to buy marijuana, but Jackson planned on robbing him instead, he said.

The other man with Jackson beat Loesch with the bat, before taking his $40, Jackson said.

The Star Tribune reported that Loesch was a father of four, who had left home without his wallet and cell phone, the family said. They said that Loesch may have wanted to show a friend a new tire on his bike.

No drugs were found in his system, the autopsy report said. Loesch has been to drug rehab before though, and police said that the situation points to the fact that Loesch was there to buy drugs.

Either way, Huffman said, that there was a murder and "We're not inverstigating Marks' background."

Dog Attack

The Star Tribune reported that on Friday three Rottweilers chased a mother and her 4-year-old daughter into their van, where they had to be rescued by a Champlin police officer.

The 37-year-old mother and her daughter were house-sitting for a friend, who owns the dogs, when they were pursued by the dogs, Sgt. Chris Larrabee said.

The mother said she heard her daughter screaming and ran to find one of the Rottweilers biting the girl.

While trying to help her daughter the dog began to attack her, Larrabee said.

The dogs then chased the two into their van, where they called 911.

Police arrived to find the van being circled by the dogs and the woman going into shock, Larrabee said in the Star Tribune.

The 43-year-old man who owns the dogs, said that they hadn't been a problem before.

The two were taken to NOrth Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale and were listed in satisfactory condition on Saturday, the Star Tribune reported, though the names and current condition of the mother and daughter were not yet released on Monday.

The Pioneer Press reported that the Rottweilers are in quarantine after the attack. It is also noted in the Pioneer Press that the woman had gone to let the dogs out Friday when they attacked her daughter, which is not clear in the Star Tribune article.

The dogs will be held for at least ten days, the Pioneer Press said.

October 29, 2007

Man's Body Found after Fishing Trip.

The body of a Plymouth man was recovered Saturday authorities said in the Star Tribune .

Martin Richard Schriner, 35, was found in Eagle Lake, north of Willmar, after his fishing boat went under water. Authorities were notified that two people were fishing and had gone under water.

The boat was going in circles while a bystander on a water scooter attempted to help. The bystander rescued the man and he was taken to Rice Memorial Hospital and was treated and released.

Schriner was recovered at 5:45 p.m. several hours after the incident was reported to authorities, the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Department said.

The same article ran in |

Craigslist Murder

Katherine Ann Olson, 24, was found dead in her car on Friday after responding to an ad for nanny on Craigslist, police Capt. David Muelken said in an ABC news article.

Olson, who was a recent college graduate, left her home in Savage, Minn. to meet the person for the job ad.

Police arrested a man, 19, who works at the Minneapolis airport and said they expect to charge him connection to the murder Tuesday, said ABC news.

Olson's father said she had previously used Craigslists to find nanny postings without any problems.

Olson was last seen on Thursday mornings by her friends.

Results on the autopsy are still being awaited.

The Star Tribune reported that charges could have been filed Monday, but will likely filed Tuesday, said authorities.

Steve McCutchan, 20, said he couldn't imagine the suspect doing something like that, when he was questioned.

A State Patrol helicopter found the car in the Burnsville's Kraemer Nature Preserve around 10 p.m. Friday. Olson's purse was found earlier at Pacer Park in Savage.

October 22, 2007

Two people arrested in Minneapolis Stabbing

A 23-year-old woman and a 34-year-old man were arrested because they were involved in an altercation with a man her was stabbed Sunday, the Pioneer Press reported.

The victims body was found in an alley in south Minneapolis.

The Star Tribune identified the victim as Kevin Lashon Lewis, 40, of Minneapolis.

The suspects were taken to Hennepin County Jail. They have not been charged, Minneapolis police Lt. Amelia Huffman said. Both have criminal histories, the Star Tribune said. The woman was arrested before on suspicion of prostitution and possession of controlled substances and the man was previously arrested on suspicion of drug, driving under the influence and auto theft charges, the Star Tribune said.

Lewis is a father of three sons.

Lewis was found at 6 a.m. Sunday in the 3500 block of Columbus Avenue S, the Star Tribune said.

The investigation is ongoing and Lewis' friends and family are not aware of anyone that would have wanted to harm him.

Girl in St. Paul Gives out Meth

A 14-year-old girl was sentenced Monday for giving meth to six classmates at Hazel Park Middle School Academy earlier this month, the Star Tribune reported.

Details about the sentencing are unknown because of the girls age.

The girl brought drugs to school on Oct. 2 and gave them to friends. She pleaded guilty to second-degree sale of a controlled substance, even though she gave the drug away.

Seven students were examined at the hospital after eating the drug. All were around 14.

The Pioneer Press reported that the girls father, Jerry Castillo, 35, was charged with fifth-degree drug possession. A criminal complaint said, he used meth-amphetamine.

His daughter found them and distributed them at her school, the Pioneer Press said.

The Star Tribune reported that the girl's mother was also under investigation.

October 17, 2007

Man from Edina is Missing and may have Amnesia

A 23-year-old Edina man was reported missing after he didn't show up to work and may have amnesia, said his sister and police, reported The Star Tribune .

Scott M. Tridgell was last seen on Oct. 10, when he didn't show up for work at Lunds grocery chain in Edina where he works, Mike Lutz, a police detective, said.

Tridgell suffered a head injury in December and may have amnesia from that. The accident occurred when he fainted and hit his head at home. His sister said he lives above a garage and the faint may have been due to carbon monoxide exposure.

Tridgell is described as "5 feet, 11 inches tall, 140 pounds with dark blond hair and hazel eyes" said The Pioneer Press . He normally wears glasses and may be wearing a shirt and tie with light brown shoes.

He may be driving a 1996 black Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, police said.

October 15, 2007

Acid Spill in St. Paul

A plastic container with 300 gallons of hydrochloric acid fell from a fork lift on Monday and broke onto the floor of the loading dock of Diversified Manufacturing Corp, the Pioneer Press said .

No one was injured, but eight employees and two firefighters were decontaminated after exposer. The spill occurred in St. Paul Park.

The spill was contained and no acid is expected to have reached ground water, St. Paul Park Fire Chief Kurk Lee said.

The accident occurred at 9:05 a.m. and the company was evacuated.

This loading dock was a makeshift loading dock, because a new edition is being built. The company used the acid in toil-bowl cleaner, said Ram Motilall, the company's owner.

"It was at an angle," said Motilall. "The (container) tipped off the fork and fell and split open."

The spill was sucked up with a vacuum truck and neutralized, Same Brungardt, spokesman for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said.

The Star Tribune reported roughly the same story.

Surrounding businesses were evacuated as well, but no property damage was reported. The quality of the air was tested and it was determined by authorities that there was no hazard.

October 13, 2007

Mercury Spilled at a High School

A charter school in Eden Prairie was evacuated Thursday after a mercury spill, said the Pioneer Press . A small amount spilled on the floor in a science storage room, said Judy Ingison, Eagle Ridge Academy Director. Exposure was minimal and none of the students grades six through 12 were in the area at the time, Ingison said.

Over 290 students and staff members had to evacuate Eagle Ridge Academy in Eden Prairie after two teaspoons were found, said the Star Tribune .

Minnesoate Pollution Control Agency sent workers to examine students and staff. No one was hospitalized.

"Apparently is had been tracked around, "Minnesota Pollution Control spokesperson Sam Brungardt said.

The school remained closed Thursday for cleanup.

Mercury can accumulate in tiny spaces and emit vapors, if not in an air-tight container.

Meter Man steals from the City

St. Paul authorities are investigating whether an employee, who collects money from parking meters, has been stealing coins instead of turning all of them in, reported the Star Tribune on Wednesday.

A credit union notified police that the man was repeatedly dropping off large amounts of coins.

No charges have been filed, but a search warrant has been issued to investigate, the station said.

The Pioneer Press reported this same story, but with more details.

The search warrant was filed on Tuesday in Ramsey County District court, after the bank teller alerted police. The employee, Vincent Carl Schettner, 63, attracted the attention of a teller at the City and County Credit Union in St.Paul after noticing that Schettner brought in $1,200 on a weekly basis. The reasons he had so many coins were conflicting the teller told police.

"Schettner has worked for the city since 1970 and makes $21 emptying meters, said acting human resources director LeeAnn Turchin."

The money was not noticed missing, because it was hidden within the other raids that have been going on, said Bruce Beese, head of St. Paul's department of public works.

Four other tellers and City and County Credit Unions in St. Paul and Lake Elmo were also suspicious of the deposits made by Schettner.

Schettner told one teller that he worked with parking meters, and others assumed the city paid Schettner in coins.

Schettner worked along and drove the coins to the drop off at the traffic operations building on North Dale Street, said a city supervisor.

October 1, 2007

Man dies in Mississippi

The man who died in the Mississippi in La Crosse Wisconsin, was identified today as Christopher B. Melancon, 24, of Bloomington the Star Tribune said. The police reports are conflicting, because one witness reports that the man jumped and another witness reports that he fell. Melancon drowned Sunday morning in the Mississippi by the Cass Street Bridge.

Melancon is originally from Milwaukee and was going to college in the Twin Cities and worked in Bloomington, the Pioneer Press said.

Police were called at 1:30 a.m. and a dive team recovered the body at 2:20 a.m. This is the second consecutive year that someone drowned during Oktoberfest weekend. Rumors of a serial killer have circulated in the are, but there is no evidence to say that these events are more than just accidents.

"This tragic and unfortunate incident overshadows a relatively quiet and successful Oktoberfest weekend," La Crosse police chief Ed Kondracki said in the Star Tribune.

School Bus hits Girl

The Pioneer Press said that a school bus hit a girl in St.Paul on Monday. Howie Padilla, a St. Paul Public schools spokesman said the girl was not on the bus. It's believed the girl was playing in the street with many other children.

The girl's name and age have not been released, and the extent of her injuries is not known. A police spokesman said the girl was conscious and breathing when the ambulance arrived at the seen.

The Star Tribune said the accident happened near Park St. and Hatch Ave and around 4 p.m. The bus was carrying 30 students heading from Farnsworth Elementary School in St. Paul when the bus hit the girl.

The girl was with a parent when the accident happened, the Star Tribune said.

The bus driver has been with the St. Paul district for six years and has never had a complaint. The students on the bus were taken on other buses to their homes following the accident.

September 24, 2007

12-year-old Girl Shot in the Head

A 12-year-old girl was shot in the head on Friday, September 24, as she walked home from a party the Start Tribune reported.


The girl was shot half a block away, the police said. She is in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center. No comments have been made by her family regarding her condition.

Police officials said that this is an indicator that more younger and younger children are playing with guns and more children are getting shot. The police have made no arrest in this incident, and the name of the girl has not yet been released.

"The ages of the people being shot and the ages of the shooters has gone down over the past four, five years," City Council Member Don Samuels said. Samuels also siad that a boy, 12, was shot in the past several weeks as a reference to the increased violence in younger children.

The Star Tribune said, "Among the city's 60 homicides in 2006, 11 victims were younger than 18." More than half of the robberies in the Cities were committed by people 13 to 17 years old.

The Pioneer Press said that the police reported the bullet was not meant for the girl. Police do have the description of two suspects.

Witnesses said they heard eight or nine gunshots and saw the girl get hit in the head. Other witnesses said that they saw six or seven boys hiding behind a fence a block from the party.


September 23, 2007

The Future of Crop Dusting

The Star Tribune said that there may not be any new crop dusting pilots to take over for the current aging pilots. The reporter interviewed Tim Steier, a crop duster in Blue Earth, Minnesota, and explained his profession of crop dusting. According to Steier, who owns an aerial application business the profession is in need of younger interest as he and his fellow pilots approach retirement.

Pilots said there are several reasons for fewer young pilots. There is a fear of competition in the industry, meaning companies are less willing to train beginners and insuring young pilots is also costly. There is also overall less interest in becoming a pilot compared to previous decades.

A representative from the National Agricultural Aviation Association said that the average age of a crop duster is in their 50's and 60's.

Crop dusters are necessary help to farmers who provide the food we eat. Steier said that when he was younger he could be taught by his uncle and he started at age 14. Rod Thomas, a pilot and president of the NAAA, said he started as a farmboy learning how to fly from his brother. Today this type of tradition is no longer allowed.

Environmental regulations are strict and insurance and start-up costs are expensive. The income of a pilot can also vary widely Steier said. There are not a lot of job openings either, and Steier supplements his income by growing corn and soybean, raising hogs, and managing the Blue Earth Municipal Airport.

Despite the lesser of interest in the field, there is a control on who can enter a program to learn to fly. Michael Vivion, head of the aviation program at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, said that only 5 of 50 aviation students are pursuing a specific degree of aerial application. "We don't want to churn out hundreds of people with degrees in these programs, because there aren't hundreds of jobs," he said.

September 17, 2007

U.S. Representative Jim Ramstad Retires

Jim Ramstad retired from his "Third District Congressional seat" Monday afternoon KSTP said. Ramstad was elected in 1990, and has served 9 terms. Ramstad has worked on the House Ways and Means Committee and anti-crime initiatives and authored the Jacob Wetterling Act, "which established a community notification program and a national registration database for child sex offenders" KSTP said. Ramstad was considered a moderate Republic and his retirement has already interested Republicans in his position. Erik Paulsen, a former Republican House Majority Leader; businessman Brian Sullivan and David Gaither, a former state senator were named by KSTP as likely candidates, but more names are expected.

The Star Tribune said, in an interview, Ramstad said a reason for retiring was that "he was burned out". Ramstad is credited for working on behalf of the people. While in office, he voted against the Republican majority on the troop surge in February and voted to increase the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. He also voted in favor of renewable energy programs. Ramstad does not intend to return to politics and wants to teach and work with people with chemical addictions. He wants to enjoy life with his family and no longer commute to and from Washington.

September 16, 2007

Pollution in Minneapolis Ground Water

Years of industrial chemical usage in the Twin Cities and metro area has left the ground water contaminated. The Star TribuneThe Star Tribune said that, "more than $200 million has been spent over two decades to combat the problem." Research conducted by the Star Tribune of pollution reports and records shows that there is pollution under 35 metro area communities. The Star Tribune said, "If added together, the polluted zones would equal an area 2½ times the size of Minneapolis." The cleanup is expected to take decades in some areas and be paid for by taxpayer dollars. There is already special treatment in place in water plants in the metro area because of pollution, and more suburbs are expected to need such filtration soon. Long term health risks are a possibility from this pollution. Some residents in Washington county have been forced to use whole house filtration methods for their water, since their wells have been contaminated.

West Central Tribune online explained the situation further. "It is almost like when you throw dye into a jar of water," said Michael Convery, a supervisor in the Health Department's well management section. "It is hard to get it back again. It just spreads out." State health officials have said that there is no reason to think the pollution is cancer causing. The pollution affects more than 1.8 million people, who get their tap water from the ground water. Much of the pollution is in the suburbs, occurring when it was open land. The largest area of pollution is where the Twin Cities Armory is, which is seven miles long and extends to the Mississippi River. Mike Fix, director of the Army installation said, "What is being drawn out of the wells now probably was dumped in the 1950s and later". The Army is spending money to clean up the pollution, but it is projected to take 20 to 40 years still. The filtered water is considered safe for drinking.

September 8, 2007

Man Charged with Murder of his Wife

Matthew Lawrence Gretz was charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing his wife http://www.startribune.com/467/story/1407623.html

It was announced on Friday that police have been able to make a good case against Gretz, the husband of murdered art student Kira Simonian, who was killed on June 27 in their apartment http://www.twincities.com/allheadlines/ci_6818128. Charges have not yet been filed, but the Police Chief Tim Dolan is quoted as saying "The forensic evidence is very very solid". Gretz maintains that he is innocent.

Simonian was beaten and stabbed to death and burried. Friends and family knew of no previous problems or reasons why Gretz would kills his wife. The couple had moved to Minneapolis from Chicago, so Simonian could pursue an art career.

It's believed by police that after killing his wife Gretz flew to New York for a business trip. Police found Simonian's blood on his suitcase he took with him on the trip as well as his watch.

AFSCME Workers Position on Strike

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University of Minnesota Position on Strike

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Workers on Strike at the University of Minnesota

This morning more than 100 protesters attended the meeting of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents according to the Star Tribune Tribune. When the meeting began asking for questions for university president Robert Bruininks a protester responded, "We want to know when there's going to be a fair contract for the workers at this university." The protesters began to shout and blocked the exit from the room. "Five people were arrested for interfering with public property" according to the Star Tribune.

This action comes about after workers of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees(AFSCME) went on strike at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday.

The workers are unsatisfied with the wage increase offered by the university. The Pioneer Press http://www.twincities.com//ci_6806060?IADID=Search-www.twincities.com-www.twincities.comwrote that according to AFSCME workers they were offered 2.25 percent raises for clerical and technical workers and 2.5 percent raises for health care workers. The workers believe that this raise does not cover inflation. The university says that their offer provides 94 percent of the workers with a 4.5 percent raise over the course of a year, because it is based on a "step increase for years of service".

The University of Minnesota Human Resources website http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/er/negotiations/afscmeproposal.html says that this Friday they offered a settlement under which, "94 percent of AFSCME employees would receive a 8.5 percent or greater increase over the two-year contract." The site continues to say that the wages of the AFSCME workers have increased with inflation and have even surpassed inflation. The university's position is that AFSCME is not including step increases and is arriving at lower wage increases. The university also states that their wages are competitive in the market with the average AFSCME employee making $35,444 per year; it is not stated net or gross.

The workers on strike have a flyer http://www.uworkers.org/ stating that the university's proposal does not meet the inflated costs of living. The flyer also states that the real raise is only 2.25 percent since not all workers receive the step increase. The workers say that the step increases were not intended to cover inflation and to meet the cost of living today the wages across the board need to be increased.