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m2950 BC-MN-UMinn-Strike 09-20 0250

University of Minn. strikers, officials resume talks

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The University of Minnesota and its striking clerical, health care and technical workers were returning to the bargaining table Thursday, more than two weeks after the strike began.

AFSCME-represented workers, who have been on strike since Sept. 5, requested Thursday’s meeting, university spokesman Daniel Wolter said.

The biggest sticking point in the contract dispute is money.

The union has said the university’s contract offer of a 2.25 percent annual raise for clerical and technical workers and a 2.5 percent raise for health care workers isn’t enough. The university contends that when combined with raises for experience, most AFSCME represented employees will receive raises of at least 8.5 percent for the contract’s two years.

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Last week, the union rejected one contract offer. AFSCME has said if the university raises salary increases to 3.25 and 3.5 percent, the strike would likely end.

Nearly 1,000 of the roughly 3,100 workers affected remain on strike.

On Monday, some students, faculty members and union supporters began a hunger strike. They have consumed only water and juice. Marion Traub-Werner, a geography graduate student and one of the hunger strikers, said the group has contacted a nurse because one participant is impacted by not eating.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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