By the end of the year, a group of faculty at the University of Minnesota hopes to get authorization to hold a union vote.
“It’s really about the loss of the mission of public higher education and just a concern that because of the trends in higher education where there’s more contingent faculty, there’s fewer tenure line positions, there’s less involvement of the faculty in the governance of the university,” [professor of science history Mark] Borello said.
Simultaneously, the university clerical and maintenance workers (organized with AFSCME and Teamsters, respectively) are in contract negotiations (Minnesota Daily). Cherrene Horazuk, the president of AFSCME Local 3800, has a real talent for picking out anecdotes that tell a clear story. Among them:
- the university gave a larger raise to the basketball coach after one disastrous season than it’s offering to all 1000+ clerical workers;
- the union has been pushing for an anti-bullying provision in the contract; the administration’s counter-offer is to pay for “resiliency training”;
- “Horazuk ended the rally by saying, ‘In its strategic plan, the university is asking its best researchers and brightest minds to solve society’s grand challenges, and hopes to answer the question, “How will we ensure just and equitable societies?” The administration should start by ensuring a just and equitable university.’”
A bunch of good letters to the editor have been appearing in the Daily:
- Workers deserve the university’s respect
- Is the U meeting its grand challenge?
- Why I support a faculty union
- The price we pay for college is unsustainable