Mora, MN — On April 18, public employees of the Kanabec County Family Services Department voted to authorize a strike. The unit represents more than 40 workers represented by LIUNA Local 363. The union filed a strike notice and could walk off the job as early as May 2.
AJ Lange, Business Manager of LIUNA Local 363 said, “Throughout unprecedented times, our members showed up every day to serve their communities with pride and commitment, ensuring that the most vulnerable residents of Kanabec County have access to food, health services, and other basic necessities. Our members have continued to work on the frontline providing crucial services for families and individuals who are often most at risk and impacted by mental illness, food insecurity, chemical dependency, abuse, and neglect.
While inflation has reached historic levels, our members are struggling to pay their bills. They deserve a raise that allows them to provide for their families. We are continuing the fight for a fair contract that will benefit our members and our community. We ask our friends and neighbors from Kanabec County to contact your county commissioners to tell them to give our members a raise that is comparable to nearby counties.”
Union members voted down the employer’s best and final offer, which included insufficient wage offers, PTO concessions, and takebacks. The latest offer was unacceptable to workers, who say the County’s model of low wages, high workloads, and high turnover is unsustainable. It places an undue burden on Family Services Employees and the county residents who rely on the services they provide. Nearby counties such as Aitkin, Mille Lacs, and Isanti pay $3-$5 more per hour for the same work. Some former union members have made the difficult decision to leave Kanabec County for similar jobs in neighboring counties, which also provided a reduced workload, good benefits and higher wages. The union has been negotiating a new contract since September 2022.