A number of University of Minnesota workers voiced their worries about wages and working conditions in front of the Board of Regents Friday afternoon.
Calling for “respect and raises” as they renegotiate new collective bargaining agreements, unionized workers addressed concerns in front of the board, including employee sick and parental leave, shortages in staff and pay.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3800 president Cherrene Horazuk called to reinstate the Regent’s Scholarship which previously covered University employee’s tuition but was reduced to 75 percent, except for first-time degree-seekers in 2009.
Workers represented by AFSME have seen around a 15 percent decrease in staff, while academic professional jobs have grown by over 24 percent from 2008 to 2014, according to data provided by AFSME.
Horazuk said she is hoping to negotiate a 5 pay percent increase for unionized workers and create a $15 per hour minimum wage.
“This isn’t Wal-Mart or Target or US Bank — this is a public land-grant institution funded by tax payers and student tuition,” Horazuk said
Regent David McMillan said he understands the importance of allowing employees to invest in further education, but he said employees should pay for some portion of their classes.
“I don’t think it’s too bad right now. I think we’re paying the bulk of it,” McMillan said, adding that he would be interested in the idea of a sliding scale for workers to pay for taking classes.