Outstate union support weakens

Jim Martyka

On the first of two election days for University faculty members, professors on the Morris campus voted not to join an outstate bargaining unit in the upcoming union election. But faculty members in Crookston ended in a deadlock.
The Morris faculty voted 37 in favor and 69 against joining bargaining Unit 9, with 13 not voting. The Crookston campus voted 16 in favor and 16 against, with only one abstention.
Those faculty members who vote for inclusion in the bargaining unit will vote for unionization, probably in January.
Although Josh Tilsen of the state’s Bureau of Mediation Services said Morris’ exclusion is official, his office will discuss Crookston’s outcome before making a ruling.
Tilsen said he expects a challenge to an order that the mediation service issued earlier this month. This order excluded seven Crookston employees from the eligible voter list. The seven were excluded because they have the word “manager” in their titles.
“We’re not sure yet, but we’ll probably wait to give an official ruling on whether or not Crookston will be in the unit until after we look into these voters,” Tilsen said. Mediation service members will meet Friday to discuss their options.
Some Twin Cities faculty members speculated that a possible reason Morris faculty voted against joining the unit was because support for a union has dwindled in recent months. This occurred because the regents became increasingly conciliatory toward faculty. The push for unionization was strong during September when the Board of Regents issued tenure proposals with controversial language, but subsided after the regents implemented a less stringent new tenure code for the Law School.
Twin Cities faculty have said another reason might be that Morris faculty members simply don’t want to be part of a union. “One reason could be that, like many other faculty, they prize their freedom,” said Professor of Law Fred Morrison.