Breaking News
More () »

University of Minnesota service workers hold 'practice picket' for higher wages on move-in day

More than 1,500 service workers throughout the University of Minnesota system are preparing to strike.

MINNEAPOLIS — More than 1,500 service workers at the University of Minnesota are preparing to strike.

Members with Teamsters Local 320 held a "practice picket" Tuesday afternoon as they marched outside Centennial Hall on the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus during move-in day.

Their members include custodians, gardeners, dining workers and others, who are fighting for higher wages on campus.

Leaders say they're looking for a new minimum wage of $20 an hour.

They say hundreds of members, around 61%, are currently living in poverty, according to a recent member survey.

Around 9% of members report being homeless at least once while working for the university.

“We're hoping this will shine enough light in that the University of Minnesota can see that its workforce is tired. We do really care about the university and we want to remain employed here. However, it's getting difficult,” Teamsters 320 spokesperson Hannah Bernardson says.

Union leaders say they are scheduled to meet with university officials on Sept. 8 and 9 to try and hammer out a deal.

In response to the picket, the University of Minnesota sent KARE 11 this statement:

The University of Minnesota is currently in mediation with Teamsters Local 320 and additional meetings with the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services are scheduled.

The University values the work of Teamsters 320 members and we hope to quickly reach an agreement that will allow us to attract, retain, and engage a diverse workforce. We are proud to offer competitive wages and meaningful benefits in addition to creating a culture where employees can be their best.

The University will continue to bargain in good faith with our labor represented employees. As part of the contract negotiation process, union members and representatives have the right to express their views through public demonstrations. The University anticipates demonstrations will be peaceful, as they have been in the past.

Watch more local news:

Watch the latest local news from the Twin Cities in our YouTube playlist:


Before You Leave, Check This Out