Minneapolis park workers extend strike ‘indefinitely’, demand negotiations

The Minneapolis parks and rec workers' strike was initially supposed to end after a week, but the union says they will continue fighting and extend their strike indefinitely. 

When union members walked off the job over the Fourth of July holiday, they hoped it would demonstrate their value and lead to a fair contract. But the seven-day strike, which was supposed to end Wednesday, will remain ongoing.  

The LIUNA Local 363 union, representing more than 300 park maintenance workers, says the workers have been working without a contract since the beginning of the year. 

Union leaders say the park and rec board is refusing to return to the bargaining table. But the park board superintendent wants workers to vote on the board's "best and final offer" before resuming negotiations.

That offer includes raises of more than 10% over three years, but park workers say it’s still not enough. 

"This is more important than your rules. Your order. Your time clock. Our livelihoods are on the line," says Aj Lang, the business manager at Local 363. "Your contract does not work for us." 

After holding a week-long strike, the union announced Wednesday night that the strike would continue. The employees who maintain 180 parks across the city are calling for better pay, benefits and working conditions. The park board says a new contract could raise property taxes in Minneapolis. 

Maintenance workers are set to hit the picket lines on Thursday morning at Lyndale Farmstead Park. Pickets are also planned at a different city park each day this week.