TH city workers reach tentative agreement

Two high-profile informational pickets, an intent to strike and a marathon bargaining session notched AFSCME Local 1123 a tentative agreement last week.
“We got done at 4:30 this morning,” said Aaron Heim, a light equipment operator and president of the 25-member local, which is the largest bargaining unit for the City of Two Harbors. “We plan on voting on it on [Sept. 8].”
Results of that vote were not available for publication; check www.laborworld.org for updates.
The tentative agreement got the recommendation of leadership, and was somewhat of a mixed bag.
On the one hand, Heim said members are getting the biggest raises they’ve had in more than 20 years. On the other, “we weren’t able to keep all the health-care language we wanted,” which was one of the main sticking points in negotiations.
Union members picketed at the Municipal Liquor Store in Two Harbors on two high-traffic Saturdays in August. The store is on the main drag up the North Shore, and coordinated AFSCME-green shirts and signs drew and almost constant stream of supporting honks from day-trippers and locals alike.
Heim said the intent to strike was serious, but concerns of young families and one-income families in the union who would be affected had to be taken seriously.
The raises represented “money on the table,” Heim said, and for now, “it’s a deal we can live with.”
Heim said the grassroots work was impressive over the last month and will have to continue into the future.

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