Union Tries To Organize Faculty At The University Of Minnesota

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A major union is trying to get the faculty at the University of Minnesota to join their organization.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 284 argued that if faculty were to join them, they could help negotiate better pay, benefits and working conditions.

The SEIU argues that recent trends in higher education are hurting faculty and instructors who work at universities across the country according to The Minnesota Daily.

“At many schools, we’re facing less faculty inclusion in governance structures, erosion of academic freedom and fewer protections on our intellectual property,” the email read.

The email goes into further examples of how rights of faculty members from colleges across the country are being decreased. They note that the proportion of tenured and tenure-track faculty members is declining.

The email cites efforts to unionize college employees as an example of how the union has tried to address these concerns, including their Adjunct Action campaign, which attempted to unionize adjunct faculty members at several Minnesota colleges last spring.

A human resources spokesman at the University of Minnesota wouldn’t get into detail on how the university views this push by the SEIU, but did note that any attempt by the union to organize their faculty is dependent on the state of Minnesota’s Public Employee Labor Relations Act (PELRA).

The spokesman told the Daily Caller News Foundation, “The state of Minnesota’s Public Employee Labor Relations Act defines which employee groups are eligible for labor union representation. Groups would need to work with the Minnesota State Bureau of Mediation Services to ensure they comply with state law regarding organizing.”

Josh Tilsen, commissioner at the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services, told TheDCNF, “Yes, the faculty can organize under PELRA, specifically 179A.11.”

Tilsen also explained what the SEIU would have to do to represent the faculty: “As set forth in law and rules, in order to seek representation, a minimum of 30 percent of the eligible public employees must sign authorization cards stating that they wish to be represented by the petitioning labor organization for the purpose of  negotiating wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment with the public employer.”

“In order to be certified as the exclusive bargaining agent for a group of employees, more than 50 percent of those casting ballots must vote in favor of representation,” Tilsen added.

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