U of M Contingent & Tenure-Track Faculty United by State Bureau Decision for Union Vote
Today University of Minnesota – Twin Cities faculty praised a decision by the State Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) that affirms the unified bargaining unit requested by tenure-track and contingent faculty for their union election, setting the stage for a vote later this fall. Faculty are seeking to form a union for a stronger voice in University governance and a stronger voice in shaping the future of higher education in Minnesota.
"As contingent faculty, I want to be legally bound to administration because I believe that together we can be better stewards of the U of M. It is by working together, unidos, we will ensure the continued quality of instruction our students deserve."
I support unionization because it can help us address structural racism on campus.
I support a faculty union to have a stronger voice to protect funding for the core educational mission of the university.
As faculty at an institution of higher education, we have the opportunity to enact values of equity, justice, diversity, fair compensation, and shared leadership. The union gives us a stronger voice in decision-making and governance. We can use that voice to support all members of our University of Minnesota community including students, staff and adjuncts, term, and tenured faculty.
From my perspective, the administrator making $250,000 a year is worth far less than the man who cleans the toilets. One does an honest job, the other does nothing but contribute negatively to the University. I support the formation of a union as the unique feasible manner to unite all University of Minnesota workers.
I believe that forming a faculty union would contribute to equity, transparency, and accountability at the U. A union will become increasingly necessary as the current budget trends continue, to protect working conditions as well as academic freedom."
"As a professor at the University of Minnesota and a member of the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel (CEART), I fully recognize the importance of union representation for higher education personnel to ensure that the working conditions of faculty adhere to the 1997 Recommendations for all Member States of the United Nations, including the U.S.A. (available at http://bit.ly/1Lh67dM). Faculty unions are vital to the development of equitable policies affecting the lives of teaching personnel at the University, such as the creation of a fair remuneration policy that recognizes the 12-month faculty workload. The work of faculty at research-intensive, doctoral-degree granting institutions like the University of Minnesota does not cease at graduation in May even though our nine-month salary system suggests that it does. We need strong representation to create a more just system to rectify current conditions and recognize the year-round work of research, advising, and teaching preparation by our faculty."
"I believe that a united faculty voice could tell a compelling story regarding the importance of our teaching and research to the people of Minnesota. A united voice could speak to the passion and dedication that fuel our hard work. It appears that the University Administration has not been successful at illustrating these things to Minnesotans thus far--it is time that we come together in order to make this case more effectively."
"The Job Family Study process that we experienced demonstrates why P&A academic professionals working at the University, in addition to the instructional faculty, are seeking to form a union. With a union, we would have had a seat at the table and an opportunity to advocate for our interests in the decisions affecting our working conditions. I believe everyone at the University deserves to love their job and I think a union is our best chance to have a voice in how we do our jobs, teach our classes, and serve the State of Minnesota."
One person's voice is easy to ignore, but when it is combined with the voices of others it becomes overwhelming. Never underestimate the power of organized labor and its ability to level the playing-field with powerful interests.
I don’t automatically distrust management, but I do believe that a union can help us, the faculty, create a better environment for our students.
"Simply put, workers are better off when they stand together, and we as instructional faculty are no different. As a nation, we have unfortunately been lead to believe that unions are a drag on our public resources or on our private profits. However, it is simply not the case, especially in higher education. Across the country and certainly here in Minnesota, state support for universities has slowly dwindled, leaving students with higher tuition and faculty with less security, fewer numbers, and greater responsibilities. A union here at the University of Minnesota allows us to stand with our students against the drowning costs of their education. A union here at the University of Minnesota allows us to provide a better education for our students and a more stable future for our families and our communities."
A faculty union will make the U a better place to teach because we will be able to live up to the mandate of teaching (and research), rather than spend the bulk of our time tending to administrative matters -- which is the way it is now. Most faculty members spend time on responding to administrative prompts and sitting in meetings that are only tangentially related to our mission of teaching and research. This is an effect of administrative bloat at the upper levels, which then trickles down to us. We're all running in place. A union would be able to step in and help regulate the incessant demand to provide more and more labor towards very little that's actually beneficial to the faculty, to the students, and the university's larger goals.
A strong union will ensure better working conditions, wages and benefits for all faculty and academic and administrative staff at the University of Minnesota. An enforceable contract will put university employees at the table with the administration and fellow unions representing other UofMn workers so that core issues of fairness and justice, such as the treatment of adjunct faculty, are addressed. The University Community is strengthened when everyone is represented and issues such as healthcare benefits, parental leave, job security, diversity, due process for grievances, and workload are fairly negotiated. I encourage my university colleagues to join the University of Minnesota Academics United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 284, and to have a voice at the bargaining table. Let’s be at the table.
I support forming a faculty union because better contracts for contingent faculty result in higher quality, more consistent education for students.
I support forming a faculty union because I don't want the University of Minnesota to get mired in the same crisis as the University of Wisconsin.
A faculty union will help our students learn because it is the first step in acquiring some degree of employment security for contingent faculty. The establishment of ongoing mentoring relationships between students and teachers is of course at the very heart of a liberal education. Under the current regime of single semester, non-binding contracts, the maintenance of such relationships is exceedingly difficult.
A union would foster faculty participation in governance and create a stronger community based on equity and transparency.
I believe in forming a union because it will make abuses of power harder to achieve, at every level of administration, including the departmental level.
- A faculty union will help our students learn because we will work with students collaboratively to make sure that the administration directs sufficient resources to the classroom. The share of our budget directed to instruction has declined at the U, and this trend must be reversed.
The University of Minnesota has had plenty of time to improve the working conditions of adjunct faculty. We can no longer wait for it to recognize this labor in ways that matter: stable employment, dependable wages, and a seat at the table. If tenure-stream faculty don't value these things, why do we see them as crucial to our positions? There is no reason to trust that businesses, including universities, will strike fair bargains with workers who lack bargaining power. I support the union drive because I support equitable labor practices and pay; the vital roles of adjunct and tenure-stream faculty; and rigorous educational standards. I have been fortunate to work at a unionized university in the past, and I have unfortunately witnessed conduct occur at the U that a union would (rightly) fight against. We deserve collective protection and representation, and we cannot wait.
I am in support of the unionization drive because I think a union will make a stronger university. Acting in partnership with the administration, non-faculty employees, and students, a unionized faculty will be able to advocate more effectively for the University of Minnesota and public higher education in general.
- I joined the Union, because I believe that only a unionized voice is strong enough to be heard. Having to experience the war in 1990s, in Yugoslavia, I have learned also that only when working together, can members of society bring positive changes. And I hope for many positive changes, to the benefit of all!
America has long been among the best institutions of public higher education in the world, but ongoing crises in funding, skyrocketing tuition, ever-expanding administrations, and a steady shift from long-term faculty securely committed to the institution to short-term hires in precarious positions threaten to destroy the quality of our public research universities. Uniting in one union at the U of M will give our teaching faculty a powerful collective voice to fight these trends and preserve the integrity of higher education for the benefit of our students and our state.