AFSCME Members Vote to Protect Duluth Public Services for Residents, City Workers

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DULUTH, Minn. – On Tuesday, the members of AFSCME Local 66- City of Duluth voted to ratify a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Duluth to help preserve city jobs and protect the critical services Duluth-area residents deserve and demand.

“We represent about 500 workers in our city and the vote to ratify this MOU shows that we as public employees and the City of Duluth can come together in very difficult budgetary times and come to a solution,” said AFSCME Local 66 -City of Duluth Bargaining Unit Chair Wendy Wohlwend.

“This MOU to temporarily freeze wages and salary steps, and include 18 unpaid working days was not an easy decision to make, but our members recognize that this is in the best interest of working people and -most importantly- help preserve the delivery of services our residents need.”

AFSCME Council 5 members say they “will continue to demand the passage of an additional, robust federal aid package for states, counties, and cities to ease their budgets, protect workers, and maintain excellent services for our residents.”

City of Duluth Administrator, Noah Schuchman and Mayor Emily Larson released statements on Wednesday regarding the memorandum of understanding that was reached with AFSCME:

“This agreement helps to relieve financial pressure on the City’s budget as a result of the  COVID-19 pandemic. The City would like to thank AFSCME for their partnership,” said City of Duluth Administrator, Noah Schuchman.

“AFSCME workers are absolutely critical to the health, safety, and operations of the City,” Mayor Emily Larson said. “I understand the trust this membership has placed in the city to accept this significant shared sacrifice, and I am committed to doing all I can to continue our relationship and to stabilize our revenues, budget, and services. Thank you, AFSCME!”

The vote on Tuesday came down to 242-114.

Meanwhile, the city is in active discussions with all five remaining bargaining units, which include police, fire and senior staff like directors, managers and engineers.

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