Union Representing City Of Hibbing Employees Files Intent To Strike Notice
HIBBING, Minn. — A union representing employees with the city of Hibbing has filed an intent to strike notice.
The union said it includes all city employees except for police, fire, confidential employees, and supervisors.
AFSCME Local 791-1 says it gave the notice to the city of Hibbing and the Bureau of Mediation Services on Wednesday.
The union says it has been in mediation with the city since mid-November.
It adds that city of Hibbing employees have been working without a contract since the end of 2022.
The union says it believes the city’s contract offer would take away protections from discrimination or retaliation because management would be able to adjust a worker’s pay based on “subjective criteria.”
The Hibbing city administrator says the city is negotiating in good faith and has plans to maintain services to the public should the employees go on strike.
He said the city’s offer was consistent and fair with offers made to other bargaining groups.
The next meeting for both sides to come to the table is on March 13th.
If an agreement isn’t reached by then, the union says that more than 60 employees will be allowed to go on strike starting the next day.
“One of the many protections of a union contract is the guarantee that if you do the same work as others, you’ll be paid the same regardless of your race, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or disability. It also guarantees that employees do not need to fear that their wages will be withheld as a form of retaliation for bringing up health and safety concerns in the workplace. The city’s current proposal would take away those protections by allowing management to adjust wages based on completely subjective criteria. This opens the door for city management to use wages to target workers who raise concerns about issues like safety and could lead to employees receiving disparate treatment when it comes to future wages. The city has also refused to include negotiated wages in the labor contract, which is unusual and contrary to the standard for contracts in Minnesota. AFSCME Local 791-1 members have resoundingly rejected this proposal because of its outlandish attacks on city workers.”
City of Hibbing statement:
“The city has offered a total package new labor agreement that: (1) is economically substantial, fair, reasonable, and internally consistent with other City bargaining units, specifically related to base wage pay range and individual employee increases; and (2) facilitates improved organizational, operational, and financial effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability for the taxpayers of the city. AFSCME did not affirmatively accept the offer. The city regrettably received a notice of intent to strike from AFSCME this week. The Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) notified the city and AFSCME of the bargaining unit’s authority to strike starting on a specific date. Before that date, however, the parties will participate in another mediation with BMS mediators to work towards agreement on a new labor agreement. Because the parties are in mediation, neither party can disclose specific mediation offers. The city is committed to continuing negotiations and mediation in good faith with AFSCME to agree on the terms of a new labor agreement even though it has already provided a substantially strong and fair offer to the bargaining unit. The city has made plans and will execute such plans to ensure the city will continue to provide safe, effective, and efficient services to the community.”