Faculty at the University of Minnesota are filing to form a union! It’s a group consisting of tenured, tenure-track, and contingent (adjunct) faculty, looking to join the SEIU education local. This is the same union that organized Hamline adjuncts in 2014; their new contract (just signed recently) gives them their first raise in a decade, as well as numerous other protections. The U union will be fighting for similar gains for contingent faculty, as well as a stronger voice for tenured faculty in the governance of the university. Let’s do this!
Edit to add: the WSJ has a piece on us (paywalled):
If faculty vote to join the Service Employees International Union, they would potentially establish the largest bargaining unit of any school in the nation since at least January 2013 when new organizing activity in higher education began to rise, said William A. Herbert, executive director of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions at Hunter College in New York.
In the past three years, faculty and graduate students at about 65 schools have voted to join a union–a clip of nearly one school every two weeks.
University of Minnesota Professor Mark Borrello, who teaches the history of biology and evolutionary theory, said he was motivated to organize faculty to join a union because he believes the working conditions of part-time contingent faculty are bad and getting worse. The result: a transient workforce that was leading to a decrease in the quality of education.
“These are national trends, but they’re particularly upsetting [in Minnesota] because we’ve historically been a progressive state that prides itself on being hyper-educated and hyper-literate and when you feel like that’s not happening there’s this immense sense of frustration,” he said.