10/30 Update: Together for Our Future

Email sent to supporting staff on October 30, 2020:


Thank you to those of you who came out to Murphy Square Park to gather with us and pick up your Augsburg Staff Union mask! If you weren’t able to make it, please reply to this message and we can arrange an alternative way to get you a mask.

Yesterday we delivered our letter to President Paul Pribbenow and the Board of Regents requesting voluntary recognition of our Staff Union, including the 100+ signatures on the letter that represent a majority of union-eligible staff. This morning, we received a canned response from HR dismissing our request for recognition. The Augsburg Staff Union is enthusiastically moving forward in the campaign for recognition and awaits President Pribbenow’s response. It’s unfortunate that President Pribbenow couldn’t join us to chat in the park yesterday, as he would have heard from staff who are simply asking for a seat at the table, and he would have seen a group of staff gathered in solidarity, representing multiple departments and identities.

Voluntary recognition is a legitimate, legal way to form a union. There’s more than one way to recognize a union, but voluntary recognition by an employer is always the quickest and least contentious. A majority of staff have already voiced their support for a union. We have all put in the hard work by discussing it among ourselves and coming to this decision together. Recognizing us is the legitimate next step in this democratic process. It will bring us one step closer to having a seat at the table when it comes to deciding Augsburg’s future.

Many of our Augsburg Staff Union members drew inspiration from the email President Pribbenow addressed to the Augsburg Community on October 26th, stating, “democratic engagement is much more than voting. It is joining with our colleagues to protest, to advocate, to organize, and to make our voices heard on behalf of the causes and communities and commitments that we believe in,” and it is odd that the administration would contradict this sentiment coming from President Pribbenow himself.

Here is the full letter that was delivered to President Pribbenow yesterday, showing the strong support of staff who stand in solidarity asking for voluntary recognition of our union.

It’s sad that the administration appears to prefer spending money on lawyers and a lengthy and contentious election process overseen by the Trump-appointed National Labor Relations Board than looking at the names on our letter.

We still have not heard from President Pribbenow, and we have asked him and the Board of Regents to respond by Thursday, November 5. Today, we are continuing to reach out to him for a direct forum and response. Our deadline is still Thursday for our request for voluntary recognition, and we are prepared to take a number of further actions to make sure our union gets recognized.

We are inspired by the overwhelming support we have received from the community! In less than 24 hours, we received 328 signatures on our petition, including a public endorsement from Representative Erin Murphy. We also received immediate news coverage from WCCOKSTP, and other community outlets.

Additionally, we want to remind you of your legal rights to unionize, which are protected by federal labor laws. For example, supervisors are legally not allowed to ask you about your knowledge of, involvement in, or support for our union campaign.

Remember, we are in this together – take care of each other, reach out to fellow coworkers, and continue to ask for the recognition we deserve, with the following actions:

  1. Proudly show your support in meetings by using an Augsburg Staff Union Zoom background. 
  2. Continue to share our petition requesting voluntary recognition and our public endorsement form with your networks.
  3. If you use social media, like and share our facebook, instagram, and twitter pages

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, concerns, or ideas.

In solidarity,

Augsburg Staff Union Organizing Committee

OPEIU Local 12