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Life Time Fitness, City Of Minneapolis Quarrel Over Affirmative Action

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Hiring practices at a well-known fitness chain are being put under the microscope by the city of Minneapolis.

For 10 years, the city's police and firefighters trained at Life Time Fitness for free. But current contract negotiations with the gym hit a snag -- the lack of an Affirmative Action plan from Life Time has turned into a problem for city leaders.

Life Time also serve as training facilities for several different functions. All Minneapolis city employees also receive a steep discount at Life Time locations.

But that long-standing deal is getting a second look by city hall. An ordinance requires outside vendors with contracts of more than $50,000 to have an Affirmative Action Plan -- policies that prohibit discrimination and promote equal employment opportunities.

Life Time doesn't have one.

life time fitness
(credit: CBS)

Jason Thunstrom is Vice President of Corporate Communications sent this statement to WCCO-TV"

"Life Time has proudly served the City of Minneapolis employees for 10 years and we hope to continue doing so. Our company has a long-standing, strong commitment to diversity and inclusion in recruiting and hiring, and a commitment to anti-discrimination. In addition, we have a detailed complaint reporting procedure, including a confidential team member hotline, and we actively invite any and all concerns. While we don't currently have a formal affirmative action plan in place, we stand by our recruiting and hiring practices track record..."

Minneapolis City Council Public Safety Chair, Blong Yang is trying to balance health requirements with city rules.

"We need healthy and fit firefighters. We need healthy and fit police officers. It's a core function of what we require of them," Yang said. "We're trying to find different solutions here."

Council Member Yang said they hope to figure this thing out in the next couple of weeks.

Minneapolis Fire Union President Mark Lakosky had nothing but good things to say about Life Time's relationship with first responders in the past. While he supports diversity in the fire department and all city contracts, he doesn't know why this was never a part of negotiations in the past.

"You only need to walk into one of their clubs to actually see the diversity and the people they hire," Lakosky said. "Speaking for my members and police members it's been a wonderful relationship."

The city puts all companies it does business with that have Affirmative Action Plans in place, online. There are hundreds of companies listed on 14 pages.

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