Minnesota public defenders reach deal to avert strike

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota public defenders have reached a tentative contract agreement, averting a walkout could have brought much of the state court system to a standstill.

Negotiators for the unionized attorneys and the Minnesota Board of Public Defense met with a state mediator Friday.

Union spokesman Gus Froemke said Saturday that the agreement was reached shortly before midnight.

Public defenders across Minnesota say they’ve been pushed to the brink by routinely high caseloads amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The strike was set to begin as early as Tuesday. The union says the tentative agreement includes cost of living adjustments through 2023.