More than 1,400 University of Minnesota workers are Teamsters, and half of them don't earn a wage that sustains a family, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development 2014 annual report.
Of those, more than 400 Teamsters at the university make less than $15 per hour. Most of the lowest paid jobs are held by women and people of color.
The UM Teamsters work in building and grounds, food service, research assistance, maintenance, parking services, and waste and recycling disposal. They are finding their collective voice for the first time -- and their message is "We're fed up!"
They are fed up with the meager pay and benefits they receive for their dedication and hard work. They are fed up with the mistreatment and disrespect they have been subjected to by supervisors and human resource personnel. They are fed up with being ignored by the board of regents and the university administration.
For too long Teamsters, workers and faculty have not had any relationship with the board of regents and many workers cannot even name a single regent. The governance structure of the university and its land grant mission are losing touch with the people of Minnesota. The corporate model of higher education is not consistent with university’s mission of serving all Minnesotans.
Teamsters want their wages, treatment and voice to be a priority for regents, administration and the state legislators who oversee university operations. They are asking for a 5 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) to bring pay up to a living wage. A 5 percent COLA will cost the university $1,013,859, but pays for itself in nearly $3 million in economic output. The economic output from Teamsters will create 22 permanent jobs statewide. Teamsters will spend their money in their communities and ensure shared prosperity for all Minnesotans.
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