City of Hibbing, ASFCME in BMS mediation for new labor agreement

City of Hibbing employees, represented by ASFCME, are in negotiations for a new labor agreement.

According to City Administrator Greg Pruszinske, the city 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 received a notice of intent to strike from AFSCME this week.

AFSCME Council 65 and the City of Hibbing will return to the mediation table on March 13th. However,
March 14th over 60 city employees that make up local 791-1 will legally be able to go on strike.

As for why they filed the strike, Labor Representative Tom Whiteside says, “The city’s proposal to allow supervisors to withhold employees’ wages based on completely subjective criteria are insulting to the hard-working public servants who dedicate their careers to our community. Wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on an outside attorney from the metro to come up here and attack Rangers goes against our values as a union town.”

The Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) is involved in the situation. Before the strike date, the parties will participate in another mediation with BMS mediators to try to find agreement on a new labor agreement. Neither party can disclose specific mediation offers while they are in mediation.

“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,” said Pruszinske. “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.”