Unionization vote nixed at University of Minnesota, workers’ association to form instead

After an appeals court dealt a blow to the University’s unionization push in September, organizers are shifting strategies.

David Clarey

After an appeals court struck down an effort to allow University of Minnesota adjunct professors and tenured faculty to join together for a union vote, organizers announced they will no longer seek a union and instead will work toward creating a “workers’ association.”

In an Oct. 5 statement, Minnesota Academics United — the organization leading the unionization push at the University — said they would not appeal a Sept. 5 Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling that overturned a 2016 Bureau of Mediation Services decision allowing separate employee units to unionize together. 

The overturned BMS decision would have allowed University teaching specialists and lecturers to organize as a single bargaining unit along with tenured faculty, based on shared interests between the groups. 

Under the Sept. 5 appeals court decision, University employees would have to unionize into separate unions.

Instead the group plans on forming a “workers’ association,” a group that advocates for employees, but lacks the legal authority to bargain with the employer, according to the MNAU statement.  

In its statement, MNAU said, “MNAU rejects the division of faculty resulting from this ruling and is pulling the union election for those faculty in Unit 8, the so-called instructional unit. Instead, MNAU is moving forward as one united faculty by forming a workers’ association.”