Unions greet new U president

AFSCME Local 3801 and Teamsters Local 320 were front and center as well as standing along the back in Kirby Ballroom during a meet-and-greet Tuesday with the new University of Minnesota President Joan T.A. Gabel.

Both bargaining units are currently in negotiations with the U and handed out flyers to the more than 200 people attending the event, which consisted of Gabel making a presentation and taking some screened questions.

Gabel, who most recently served as executive vice president and provost at the University of South Carolina, touted the importance of a land grand university’s mission to elevate the population.

The flyer passed out by Teamsters said “a land grant university like UMN should lift up students, workers and communities. Please tell UMN to offer a contract with living wages to the workers who keep UMN campuses running, and who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”

When asked about how the system would address salary depression and higher health care costs, especially for lower-paid employees, Gabel described the issue as a problem of resources. “Negotiating compensation and contracts is unpleasant,” she said. I want to stress that just because we’re in negotiations doesn’t mean there isn’t appreciation for the work you do.”

Check out next week’s Labor World Newspaper for more.

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