Minneapolis park workers organized with Laborers' International Union of North America Local 363 voted Wednesday night to accept a new two-year contract with the Park Board, averting a strike.
AJ Lange, Local 363 business manager, said in a statement, "The front-line workers of the Park Board have kept public spaces and parks facilities functioning during some of the most challenging crises we have endured. It is encouraging that the Board has begun to recognize workers' sacrifices in this final agreement, and more needs to be done to ensure that Park Board employees receive the respect and dignity they deserve."
Key features of the contract include a nearly 5% wage increase over the next two years, expanded benefits and additional paid holidays.
Local 363 represents 224 maintenance workers who maintain parks, trees, gardens and golf courses — about 30% of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board's workforce. The union gave a strike notice in October after seven months of talks.
"I appreciate the commitment and efforts of the negotiating team and the ongoing work and dedication of #363 members," said Park Superintendent Al Bangoura in a statement. "I am grateful every day for the amazing work done by #363 members and employees throughout the organization, to provide park services, amenities and programs that are important to the communities we all serve."
Minneapolis parkkeepers earn $56,000 on average — arborists $62,000, gardeners $63,000, crew leaders $74,000 and foremen $85,000.