On Campus Blog

Union attempting to organize U of M faculty

Will faculty organize? (Courtesy of UMN)

A group called the University of Minnesota Academics United is trying to organize all faculty members at the U.

The group has sent emails to university faculty members listing reasons they should unionize. It asks them to sign an online form authorizing the Service Employees International Union to represent professors in negotiating wages, benefits and working conditions.

A website exists that lists similar information.

A union official declined to comment on the record, but confirmed that a unionization movement was underway. He said the campaign would unionize all faculty, as well as some researchers and other academic professionals.

A U spokeswoman sent this response from the university's human resources department:

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.

Professors at the U do have a national organization that advocates for them -- the American Association of University Professors -- but it does not bargain for them.

The campaign for a union is part of a national and state effort that so far has shown mixed success in Minnesota.

Earlier this year, adjunct faculty at Hamline University voted to unionize, but their counterparts at the University of St. Thomas voted not to.

Adjunct faculty at Macalester College also called off a unionization vote.

In 2012, graduate assistants at the U also voted not to unionize.