MCAD faculty vote to unionize

Updated: 5:40 p.m. | Posted: 4:40 p.m.

The faculty at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design has voted to unionize.

Two separate bargaining units approved joining the Service Employees International Union Local 284. Part-time faculty voted 43 to 20 to join. Full-time faculty voted in favor of unionizing 16 to 13.

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The National Labor Relations Board counted the ballots Wednesday afternoon.

Full-time professor Frenchy Lunning, who's taught at MCAD for 36 years, said she supported the union to give part-timers more benefits and stability, and to give faculty more say in the decisions of the school.

"I feel satisfied and glad, but I don't feel like I've beaten somebody," Lunning said. "If anything, I feel it's a step toward a better community."

Lunning said she likes the school's leadership, but said that hasn't always been the case. She hopes a union can safeguard staff if the administration changes.

MCAD President Jay Coogan spoke for the current leadership in an emailed statement, saying they were "disappointed" with the votes, but "we respect the process and appreciate that so many members of our faculty participated in this important decision."

"We will negotiate in good faith with the faculty and their representatives from the Service Employees International Union."

MCAD's union leaders sent out an email to faculty saying they'll meet soon with SEIU to start discussions on the collective bargaining process.

SEIU is also seeking to represent faculty at the University of Minnesota and Augsburg College.

Hamline University's adjunct faculty voted to join SEIU in 2014 and ratified their first contract in February.