Wednesday, January 20, 2016

U of Minnesota faculty to file for union vote

For the first time in nearly 20 years, faculty members at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus are calling for an election to form a union. Organizers say they plan to file a formal petition Wednesday on behalf of some 2,500 full- and part-time instructors at the U’s largest campus.
If the vote goes their way, this would become one of the largest faculty unions in the country, according to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is sponsoring the organizing effort.
The group, which began its organizing campaign in the summer of 2014, said it has collected enough signatures — 30 percent of the proposed membership — to trigger a union election, and that a vote could come in three or more months.
One of the goals is to improve job security and pay for more than 1,100 contingent faculty members who are not on the tenure track, said Naomi Scheman, a philosophy professor who helped lead the unionizing effort.
She said the increasing reliance on low-paid instructors “with no job security” is one of the alarming trends in higher education. “There need to be more tenure track positions, I think everybody agrees,” she said. “We need to stop this creeping reliance on contingent faculty.”
University officials declined to comment on the union drive, saying they had yet to see the petition...

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