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MN Labor Dispute Could Affect Super Bowl Week

The University of Minnesota has been negotiating a contract with 1,500 members of Teamsters Local 320 since last spring. (Teamsters Local 320)
The University of Minnesota has been negotiating a contract with 1,500 members of Teamsters Local 320 since last spring. (Teamsters Local 320)
January 17, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Labor negotiations between the University of Minnesota and 1,500 custodial and food service workers on all five campuses began nine months ago, and culminated with a final contract offer last week.

Members of Teamsters Local 320 are voting now, with the tally to be announced next Tuesday. If the contract is rejected, the union will call for a strike.

The National Football League Players Association sent a letter supporting the workers to University President Eric Kaler last week.

Brian Aldes, principal officer for Teamsters Local 320, says that support might affect events during the Super Bowl, scheduled Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis..

"We believe that is critical in these negotiations,” he states. “There is a possibility that NFL players may not cross the picket line."

The NFL Players Association scheduled an event at the McNamara Alumni Center on the Minneapolis campus. The letter to Kaler says the event would not have been scheduled if the players' union had known about the labor dispute.

In an email, the University of Minnesota said its offer included a salary increase consistent with raises for other employees this year.

Aldes says even if members reject the contract, an agreement could be reached because the two sides are in mediation.

"We are not closing down the lines of communication,” he states. “They know how to get a hold of us, you know – we're ready. One way or the other, we are ready."

Minnesotans are still talking about the final 10 seconds of the divisional title game. Both sides in the labor dispute say they hope it won't take another "Seven Heaven" call to agree on a contract.


Laurie Stern, Public News Service - MN