University Of Minnesota Faculty Worker’s Association Rejects Tenure/Non-Tenure Class Distinction
By Doug Cunningham
Finding themselves constrained by a legal challenge to their effort to form a union at the University of Minnesota, faculty there are moving away from the traditional NLRB union election model and to a worker’s association instead.
Anna Kurhajec is a lecturer in American studies at the University of Minnesota.
[Ann Kurhajec]: “We wanted to start doing things that actually could get us some wins and build some organizing around issues, find opportunities to build solidarity with other workers and students on campus.
So we talked about moving away from the traditional unionization model and going towards the worker’s association. Which for us open up a lot of possibilities. We’re really excited about it.”
Kurhajec says the legal challenge would have divided faculty along class lines between tenure and non-tenure contingent faculty. That class difference was unacceptable to pro-union faculty.
[Anna Kurhajec]: “Across the board at all of our meetings tenure track faculty refused to be classed differently than our colleagues who have contingent appointments – a really important step of solidarity for us.”
University of Minnesota faculty are hoping that their worker’s association enables solidarity and more powerful organizing with many other workers beyond the faculty.