Minneapolis Parks Workers to Strike as Early as November 8
October 31, 2022
Minneapolis, MN – Today, AJ Lange, Business Manager of the City Employees’ Union LIUNA Local 363, announced that more than 200 Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) employees intend to walk off the job on November 8 after issuing a 10-day notice to strike.
"We have exhausted all options to avoid taking this action. Minneapolis Park employees take pride in providing the community with welcoming, clean, and enjoyable public spaces," said Lange. "In the midst of a pandemic and civil unrest, we continue to work despite being understaffed and overworked. We are the reason the Minneapolis park system consistently ranks in the top five across the country.”
The Union has been negotiating a new contract for more than seven months. An historic 75 percent of union members turned out and overwhelmingly voted down the Board's final offer in September, authorizing the Union to call a strike. The Union returned to the bargaining table in good faith and offered numerous proposals to reach a settlement. However, the MPRB continues to attack the contract and demand severe cutbacks.
Contract negotiations have been unproductive because the MPRB refuses to negotiate in good faith. After workers endured a five percent pay cut last year, the Board is demanding they accept another seven percent pay cut this year. MPRB is also proposing a two-tier system, which weakens protections for new employees by doubling the length of time before they are guaranteed full Union protections, as well as creating new instability and uncertainty regarding scheduled wage adjustments based on tenure. MPRB is seeking to weaken protections for workers that provide stable work assignments and a regular five day work week. These proposals would force workers to do more with less and ultimately reduce the quality of public services.
Lange said, “We have lost confidence in MPRB's negotiation team because they are disrespectful, hostile, and don't take us seriously. The negotiations have seriously affected morale and will have lasting effects on the workforce. Our members don't understand why they deserve this after putting their own lives at risk every day in order to provide essential public services."
LIUNA Local 363 is asking for an economic offer that keeps up with inflation in their new contract. The current contract expired on December 31, 2021 and the Union expects the new contract to compensate any agreed-upon wage adjustments retroactively. Following the notice to strike, there will be a 10-day cooling-off period, and representatives for MPRB and Local 363 are expected to return to negotiations. The strike is tentatively scheduled to begin at 5:00 AM on Monday, November 8.