Duluth's largest union files intent to strikeby Bob Kelleher, Minnesota Public Radio
Duluth, Minn. — The union representing over 460 city of Duluth workers has filed its official intent to strike.
Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed paperwork Wednesday indicating its intent to strike, after rejecting a one-year contract offer. The union represents Duluth clerical, technical, utility and street maintenance workers.
AFSCME Spokeswoman Jennifer Munt described concerns including unpaid furloughs and job security, though Duluth Mayor Don Ness says the vote is hard to understand given the economy and the city's financial stress.
Ness says the city is waiting for a formal notice from mediators which will trigger a ten day period, after which AFSCME is free to strike.
"We have a plan in place and we are preparing to implement that plan," Ness said. "There will be an impact on the citizens of Duluth. If a strike does take place it is our goal to limit that impact to the greatest extent possible."
Ness won't say whether the city plans to hire replacement workers. He says the rejected proposal was comparable to what other city unions have accepted.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)