The University of Minnesota Board of Regents has decided not to hold a public hearing on the U budget, so unions representing university workers will organize their own.
AFSCME, Teamsters Local 320, students, faculty and other employee groups will pack the Regents meeting to hear the budget presentation from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m. Thursday at the McNamara building on the East Bank of the Minneapolis campus. The unions will then hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. outside the building on McNamara Plaza.
Each June, the University of Minnesota budget proposal is presented to the Board of Regents by the university administration. Traditionally, the board has held a public hearing. But this year, the board announced it was accepting comments through an online form from June 2 to June 13 and “budget input received during the comment period will be included in the Board’s June 20 meeting docket.”
The hearing had been “the one time each year when faculty, staff and students testify to advocate for their needs and the importance of investing a portion of the budget to benefit their campus community,” the unions said.
“This year, the one opportunity for University stakeholders to testify and speak directly to the Regents was eliminated,” said Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME Local 3800, which represents clerical workers.
“Union workers at the U are currently in contract negotiations. We expect the administration to present the Regents a budget that does not include adequate cost of living increases for our members, at the same time they raise student tuition and increase debt to astronomical levels. We are not interested in the tired story that there is no money for the core institution while they find cash to pay high administrator salaries, lawsuit settlements and legal fees.”