Union voter eligibility still undecided

Jim Martyka

Now that the inclusion elections are over, University and faculty lawyers met Tuesday to discuss voter eligibility in the upcoming faculty union election.
The Crookston campus’ status in the union vote has yet to be determined by the state’s Bureau of Mediation Services because of voter investigations stemming from the inclusion elections two weeks ago. But because it is clear that faculty from Morris, the Duluth medical school and the Academic Health Center will not be included, talks turned back to the original list of faculty voters that are represented by the University Faculty Alliance.
This list includes faculty on the Twin Cities campus, except for those in the Law School and health center.
Both sides agreed to work in meetings over the next month to determine who will be eligible to vote in the election. The eligibility debate centers on faculty members who also have administrative roles.
Though earlier talks suggested the election might take place in January, both sides said Tuesday that final lists probably wouldn’t be ready until February.
The lawyers discussed allowing faculty members whose voting status has not been determined to vote. Their votes would then be sequestered to see if they would make a difference in the outcome. If they would, the mediation service would hold hearings to determine if the faculty would be eligible. State mediator Josh Tilsen said that although this suggestion was not final, the mediation service was willing to listen to any suggestions the lawyers had.
Tilsen also said the mediation service had never sequestered votes until the inclusion elections. “We’ve always figured out eligibility before the election,” Tilsen said. “But, doing it isn’t prohibited.”
The investigation in Crookston is focusing on sequestered voters.
Faculty lawyer Steve Gordon complained to Tilsen that the University has not complied with an official order to provide important employment information. But University lawyers said they are working on the problem. “We aren’t resisting in anyway,” said University lawyer Kathy Brown. “We just haven’t had the time to get going on that.”
The lawyers will meet again in a few weeks.