Employment at the University of Minnesota Faces More Issues


Thomas Olenchek, Contributor

The University of Minnesota has a total of 6 dining halls for residents and students at the U. These dining halls provide a fast number of food options and alternatives to best suit their students’ lifestyles. The dining halls are worked by a number of different employees from different backgrounds. The University has a partnership with Minnesota’s Teamsters Local 320 union that promises them jobs and a reasonable wage. In September of 2022, The University of Minnesota was under backlash from the Teamsters Union for not raising the minimum wage that dining hall employees were paid. The employees at the time were paid between $15.93 to $25.14. The Teamsters Union was bargaining for a $20.00 minimum. At the time, The University was also facing dining hall worker shortages. This meant that options within the dining hall were limited and hours open were shorter. The Teamsters union solution was that increasing the minimum wage would incentivize union workers to fill the shortages within the Universities service jobs. Teamsters’ argument was that many service jobs within Minneapolis are offering a minimum starting wage of $20 an hour. If the University raises the minimum wage of service jobs to $20 they would be competitive enough to secure the employees they need. The students who have purchased dining hall meal plans were frustrated that the options they were promised in the pricey meal plan are not served.

Since the shortages, the tables have turned. The University has filled the shortage positions within their service jobs, but now they are facing a different problem.

The U has also promised to provide 160 jobs at at least 30 hours a week for the summer. Now that summer is near, it is clear that the University will not be able to provide all of these jobs. The University is now expecting to be able to provide only 95 jobs at 30 hours a week. The University has also responded to the Teamsters complaint that the promised employment period was too low. The U will now promise a minimum of 12 months of employment to union workers. Because many of the facilities at the university will be closed, the service jobs available will be limited. The worry now is that Teamsters will not be able to provide the jobs they have promised to the members of the union. The dining hall workers who have been promised summer work are now accusing the University of breaching their contract. This would mean drastic consequences for workers who have signed contracts with the University for the hours during the summer. Workers who have signed the contract and are not given the hours will not be able to file for unemployment due to the Minnesota Unemployment Act. The House of Representatives are currently working on a bill that would change the unemployment requirements for academics. This would mean that these workers who were promised jobs, but not supplied with them will now be able to file for unemployment.

Another issue that could arise from the over promise of jobs is the shortage of jobs for University of Minnesota students that are studying or staying on campus during the summer. Many students who are living off campus or out of the dorms choose to stay over the summer and work. This will often include international students and non-Midwest residents. Staying on campus during the summer can be a lot of fun for students at the University, but is a lot more stressful when you are trying to pay rent and tuition. One Minnesota student Kate Wentz stated “I am planning to stay on campus during the summer and I am excited to see what the University looks like without the snow, but my first priority is securing a job so I can afford to live in this city.”