Covid 19 TF Update

Header: Agusburg Staff. Augsburg Values. Augsburg Contract.

Dear Colleagues,  As a union, we successfully bargained to have a representative on the University COVID-19 Task Force. The first meeting with our interim union representative, Lauren Dusek, in attendance was this past Thursday. Listed below are the primary meeting updates: 

  • The mask mandate will continue to remain in place on campus. 
  • The student government is in strong support of the continued mask mandate.
  • Additional designated eating spaces will be added, and an announcement will be sent out soon.  

After the meeting, Lauren also met with two other members of the COVID-19 Task Force to better understand the structure and expectations for future meetings. Listed below are the main takeaways:

  • The Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC guide the work of the COVID-19 Task Force. 
  • There are subgroups of the COVID Task Force that involve the operations team, the response team, and the leadership team.
  • Members of the COVID Task Force prepare ahead of the meeting in order to bring up necessary agenda items at the meeting. 
  • Decisions about remote work policies for employees are not made at the COVID Task Force meetings.
  • The COVID-19 Task Force is a space for concerns to be voiced and discussed, but it is not a space for final decisions to be made. The COVID Task Force’s commitment is to find out what we do and do not know. 
  • President Pribbenow ultimately makes the decisions related to topics brought up at the COVID Task Force meetings. 

We set up a Google Form in advance of the meeting so Augsburg Staff Union members could state their questions or concerns to be addressed at the meeting.  Please note:Urgent questions related to COVID-19 should not be submitted via the Google Form, those questions should continue to be sent to, calling 612-474-3100, and/or by using the Augsburg self-reporting form.   Here are the questions and answers from the latest Google Form responses:  

QHow do staff and faculty go about getting PPE (Masks, Sanitizer, etc) for their offices or suites? 

AAugsburg does not provide masks for individual office spaces at this time. For hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes, please place acustodial services request

QThe numbers of “on campus” student cases do not match up with the personal knowledge I have of students who have confirmed cases of Covid. I would like some clarity on how that “on campus” number is counted. Are they only counting students who live on campus, or do they count all students who have class or work on campus too?

ACases are counted based on what is reported. Faculty and staff need to help students report if they test positive. Students/Faculty/Staff need to submit aself-report formif they test positive. If a student reports to you that they received a positive COVID test, an email needs to be sent to the Dean of Students, Sarah Griesse, with the student’s name. The Minnesota Department of Health will also report cases that they find from Augsburg students/faculty/staff.  The interim staff union representative will continue to send weekly updates based on information gathered in the COVID Task Force meetings and questions asked in the google form. 

Bargaining Update 09/02/2021

Dear Colleagues,

After back-to-back bargaining sessions earlier this week, we’ve got some exciting wins to share!

  • Tentative agreement on our article on health and safety.
  • Tentative agreement on our article on union rights.
  • Tentative agreement on our article on internal hiring.
  • Guaranteed staff union representation on University Council.
  • Guaranteed staff union representation on all safety-related university-wide task forces…More info to come!

See the full text of these tentative agreements here.

We also were able to come to a tentative agreement over language concerning discipline and discharge procedures, we are encouraged by the progress we made this week!

We have had some productive conversations at the table, providing space for all parties to voice their concerns, and coming to agreements in our contract language. But there is still a tense feeling. It is a very stressful time–In the last year, but especially in the last few weeks, we see and feel the high turnover at Augsburg. Our talented, passionate colleagues are leaving to find better opportunities, better balance, better benefits. Our departments are understaffed, and still everyone is doing their best to make this a great start to fall semester for students who are coming back to campus, or coming to campus for the very first time.

In the near future, our contract negotiations will turn to the economic changes and improvements we want and need: better wages, less expensive health insurance, meaningful cost of living adjustments, retirement contributions, and more. These are going to be tough conversations. Our union members and the administration will be paying very close attention. Showing our union support, and strategizing for a strong contract is crucial in the coming months–come to our CAT meeting to help plan for our success!

Due to a bargaining session last Tuesday, the Contract Action Team (CAT) will meet tonight from 6-8 pm. We will discuss what work needs to be done, how to divide up the work so we don’t burnout, and get to know each other as colleagues. Click this link to join at 6 pm tonight!

Reminder: all vaccinated and vaccine-exempt union members will be getting 16 hours in sick time credited to them after submitting verification to the administration. The bargaining team was told that we can expect those hours within the next couple of weeks. Please reach out to a member of the Contract Action Team or if you have any questions. This was what we won after we requested to bargain over vaccinations last month!

Bargaining and Town Hall this week

Dear Colleagues,
Bargaining resumes this morning. We appreciate that the frequency of our meetings has increased. This is a factor in bringing us closer to an Augsburg contract with Augsburg values. 
The language we are bargaining over currently–internal hiring, discipline, union and management rights–is crucial to come to an agreement on. However, we still see no reason why the administration cannot provide us with a counter proposal on our proposals on wages, healthcare, and benefits so we can begin that conversation ASAP. We will continue bringing this up in our bargaining sessions with them. 
With our committed and visible support for our proposals, we will win a contract that enshrines our collective values.
Town Hall this Wednesday at Noon
Please RSVP here to our virtual Town Hall this Wednesday, July 28th at noon. We will be discussing the recent announcement regarding Covid-19 vaccinations as well as the plan for remote working in an uncertain future.
This Town Hall will replace the weekly lunch in Murphy Square Park.

July 20 Bargaining at Noon Today

Header: Update

Dear Colleagues,
Bargaining continues today at 12 pm. We concluded the last session with a counter on discipline and internal hiring policies sent back to the administration, so we anticipate a response on those.
To see what other proposals are left to reach an agreement on, check out our Proposal Tracker on our website.
As we said in last week’s email, we appreciated the administration’s preparation before we met last session. We hope that their spirit of collaboration continues going forward. Let’s get this contract done!
We will have an update after today’s bargaining session. 
Action alert!
Please join us as we stand in solidarity with our friends at MAPE, the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, as they rally for a fair contract.
When: Wednesday, July 21st at 5 pmWhere: State Capitol steps/upper mallMore info

July 14 Bargaining Update

Header: Update

Dear Colleagues,
Bargaining concluded yesterday evening with some progress made on articles concerning internal hiring and discipline. We still have some work to do to come to an agreement, but we made progress.
We also want to acknowledge that yesterday’s bargaining session was the first one we’ve had where the administration showed up prepared. This is what collaboration looks like, and we expect this spirit to continue throughout the rest of bargaining. Every time the administration sees a Zoom background, sees us eating lunch together in the park, sees someone wearing a Union button, or one of our quotes online, they see our united resolve to win a fair contract. That’s why it’s so important to continue demonstrating our solidarity!
Check out theproposal trackeron our website for an overall look at what our proposals are and how the administration has responded to them. You’ll notice that we’ve made some progress, but we’ve still got a long way to go to win an Augsburg contract with Augsburg values. We were able to secure four more bargaining dates before the start of fall semester.
Let’s get to work!

Union Lunch every Wednesday at Noon in Murphy Square Park

Bargaining Continues Today

Dear Colleagues,
Welcome to all of our new Augsburg Staff Union colleagues! We invite everyone to the weekly Union Staff Lunch in Murphy Square every Wednesday at noon (in case of rain or bad weather, we meet in the cafeteria). Bring your lunch, get to know your colleagues, and hear updates about the union.
Today at 1pm we are excited to return to the bargaining table. The bargaining team is prepared to continue negotiating issues currently in-progress: an internal hire policy and grievance procedure.  
Our last bargaining session was a month ago, on June 15th. On top of the administration’s lack of preparation for bargaining, refusal to pay the staff negotiation team during bargaining sessions, and non-collaborative approach in bargaining–the infrequent bargaining schedule is a clear indicator of the administration’s strategy to delay bargaining for a contract with Augsburg values. 
We, the staff, are not benefiting from the administration’s anti-union strategy. We must negotiate more frequently. We are ready to collaborate on the pressing issues of low wages, high turnover, expensive healthcare, and improving Augsburg for all. The high turnover rate is still a big problem for Augsburg. We are losing talented staff, their skills and knowledge are no longer contributing to making Augsburg an excellent place to work and learn. 
We have made a small amount of progress on a few proposals, which is not to be discounted. Check out the progress so far on our Proposal Tracker

The importance of solidarity
To win a strong contract we need everyone’s support, every day. 
Show your support: 

  • use a union Zoom background 
  • add a statement of support to your email signature: “Proud supporter of the Augsburg Staff Union”
  • wear your union button (pick one up at the weekly lunch!)
  • talk to your colleagues about why you support the union

We will continue to show up for Augsburg.
We will send an update after the conclusion of today’s bargaining session. 

Bargaining update and New CAT meeting times

Header: Agusburg Staff. Augsburg Values. Augsburg Contract.

Dear Colleagues,
We concluded our sixth round of bargaining at noon today. 
Today we brought our shared Augsburg Values to the table and made progress in retaining our valuable and talented staff–we reached an understanding regarding the hiring of internal applicants. Some work remains, but the administration’s team has expressed their intent to agree to language that allows for the consideration of internal applicants before job vacancies are posted externally.
We know from our survey that 76% of respondents do not think that there is a clear path to advancement at Augsburg. That’s why we brought forward this contract language, to put into specific practice how internal applicants would have their voices heard.
We’re encouraged that we’re making incremental progress at each session, but the most pressing issues remain untouched. Just take a look at our proposal tracker to see how little their responses have changed on the major issues.
As long as the administration refuses to pay bargaining team members for their time, it’s going to be difficult to find time to meet. In the past four weeks we’ve only met for a day and a half. We could be meeting every week and finishing up this contract in a reasonable amount of time if the administration respected our time as they do their own.
Paying a living wage, offering accessible and affordable healthcare, offering opportunities for advancement, and protecting the dignity and humanity of staff are the way forward for Augsburg’s future. Why stall on these issues?

Union Lunch: Bring your lunch, hear campaign updates, and meet fellow Union members! Every Wednesday at noon in Murphy Square Park

Have you signed the petition yet?
Add your name–nearly 50% of the staff have so far, plus hundreds of community supporters! We’re asking the administration to act in accordance with Augsburg values while at the bargaining table. Give us meaningful responses to our proposals, pay bargaining team members for their time, and, most importantly, discuss our economic proposals with us. 

Join the CAT!
To accommodate everyone’s busy schedules, the weekly Contract Action Team meetings have changed slightly.
We will still meet every week, but will alternate weekly between 12:00 pm and 6:30 pm. Here are the next several weeks with links to register:

To request accommodations for the CAT meetings, please email us at

Check out our new Proposal Tracker!

Header: Agusburg Staff. Augsburg Values. Augsburg Contract.

Dear Colleagues,
We’ve gotten a lot of requests for a way to track what we have proposed and how the administration has responded, so we developed a quick and easy table for everyone to follow the status of our major proposals.
Here’s a portion of the new proposal tracker feature we have up and running on our website:

We will update this tracker regularly on our website when we receive responses from the administration, so be sure to bookmark the page!
Bargaining Resumes Tomorrow Morning
The bargaining team will meet for the sixth session of bargaining tomorrow morning. We will provide an update when it concludes. 
It’s up to the administration whether they want to live up to Augsburg’s values of community and collaboration. We have demonstrated and we will continue to demonstrate that our union is for us, for the community, and for Augsburg. Will the administration come prepared tomorrow with thoughtful responses to our proposals?
Are you on campus and looking for a lunch buddy?

We created our union during the pandemic, over the phone and on Zoom. Now it’s time to start reconnecting in person. On Wednesdays, starting this week, we invite any and all union staff to join us for lunch in Murphy Square. Bring your lunch and come to socialize, ask questions, get an update, or just to see people in real life!

June 3 Bargaining Session Update

Header: Agusburg Staff. Augsburg Values. Augsburg Contract.

Dear Colleagues, 
Our fifth bargaining session with the administration concluded late last night with some progress made, as well as a clear sense of the work that still needs to be done to create an Augsburg contract with Augsburg values.
We’ve been showing up, and the administration has noticed. They know our strength and they know that the majority of us support this union effort. That work we’ve done to make our voices heard had an impact last night. The administration agreed to our full preamble. This preamble is an important step in enshrining our values as Augsburg staff into a contract. It will serve as an ongoing statement that our contract is in service of mutual benefits for staff and the Augsburg community.
It is time for the administration and their lawyer to begin putting in the same amount of time, effort, and seriousness in the bargaining process that we are as staff members. It is disappointing when the administration shows up to bargaining sessions unprepared, appearing to reflect a disinterested work ethic that would not be tolerated in our own job performances. We see this in the attorney’s often repeated phrase: “We have nothing to present.” We have offered to meet the administration two days each week going forward so we can reach a conclusion and agreement on a first contract in a timely manner. We hope the administration will agree to these dates so we can move the process forward together with more dialogue.
The administration continues to decline providing substantive responses to our proposals creating wage equity, benefit improvements, and affordable healthcare, but we are laying the groundwork to achieve these important changes as the negotiations continue. We will only achieve these if we stay united.
Let us continue making our voices heard as a group. When we speak up and stick together, we win. 

Next bargaining session

Header: Agusburg Staff. Augsburg Values. Augsburg Contract.

Dear Colleagues,
This afternoon, our bargaining team will meet with the administration for the fifth session of bargaining. In the last session, we were given responses to our proposals from admin that were mostly “No” or “The employer reserves the right to change this policy at their sole discretion.” 
Our proposals have been on the table for nearly three months–is this their best response? The administration is paying themselves and their lawyer, but not our bargaining team, to be in negotiations. The least they can do is a little homework outside of class to present us with a substantive counter-proposal.
Federal law mandates that the administration show up to our bargaining sessions; but it’s our shared values at Augsburg University that mandate we go the extra mile to work together to improve our institution. This is why we voted for our union: we want a better Augsburg for all!
Bargaining is expected to last into the evening, so we will send an update tomorrow morning.

Have you signed the petition yet?
Add your name–nearly 50% of the staff have so far, plus hundreds of community supporters! We’re asking the administration to act in accordance with Augsburg values while at the bargaining table. Give us meaningful responses to our proposals, pay bargaining team members for their time, and, most importantly, discuss our economic proposals with us. 
RSVP to our next Town Hall on June 9th at 12 pm!
We will be discussing recent bargaining updates as well as other important campaign updates!
Click here to RSVP!
Join the Contract Action Team
The CAT meets every Tuesday at 6:30 pm. Click here to register via Zoom.
To request accommodations for the CAT meetings or Town Hall, please email us at