Blog

11/8 Update email

Dear Fellow Augsburg Union-Eligible Staff,

Thanks to everyone who made it out on Thursday night for our 2nd Q&A Zoom session. We’ll continue scheduling these regularly moving forward to engage with you, answer questions, and get feedback. We’ve attached the slides that were presented last night for your reference as well.

To summarize the steps we have collectively taken in this campaign so far together:

  1. We have had 1:1 conversations with each other for well over a year about the way that staff gaining a voice and seat at the table would help Augsburg fulfill its mission to serve students.
  1. In October, after confirming that a strong majority of coworkers supported forming our union, we circulated union support cards and a public letter signed by the majority that asked President Pribbenow to voluntarily recognize our union. We continue to believe that voluntary recognition is a transparent, democratic, and legal process that many other progressive employers have recently agreed to, especially as the current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has become aggressively anti-worker under the current administration. NLRB secret ballot elections have become time-consuming, contentious, expensive, and divisive ordeals and we believe that Augsburg deserves better than this.
  1. On October 29th, a large group of staff gathered at Murphy Square and delivered our public letter to President Pribbenow’s office and gave him one week to respond.
  1. Less than 24 hours later, on October 30th, HR sent out a canned response dismissing our request for voluntary recognition and insisting that we pursue a process through the NLRB. 
  1. We then reached out to President Pribbenow to request a meeting and direct response and explanation. We also planned a peaceful vigil “Shine a Light for Workers’ Rights” to be held tomorrow, Tuesday 11/10, 5:30pm at the Augsburg House to continue raising awareness of our campaign and building solidarity with our community.
  1. President Pribbenow eventually agreed to meet with us on Thursday 11/5 where he told us he was open to a recognition process that didn’t involve the NLRB but insisted that it include a secret ballot election. We asked him to put this in writing and he agreed to respond by Wednesday, 11/11. 
  1. We now hope and expect President Pribbenow to formalize in writing with us the outlines of a process that is fair, timely, and inclusive to all who have come forward seeking a voice. There is no need for this process to be time-consuming, contentious, expensive, or divisive. As Auggies, we know we can do better!

While we are disappointed that the administration declined to voluntarily recognize us, and has yet to formalize their agreement to a fair process, we’re hopeful this is a first step in the right direction towards having our Union officially recognized. 


In the meantime, we are excited to celebrate the formation of our union with all of you as well as students, faculty, alum, and our broader community that we have received so much love and support from since publicly announcing our campaign. Please join us for our “Shine a Light” Vigil tomorrow, Tuesday, 11/10, 5:30pm at the Augsburg House where President Pribbenow lives to celebrate and peacefully call on the administration to agree to a fair process that lives up to Augsburg’s values. This will be a great chance to show President Pribbenow (who is welcome to join us) how united and determined we are to move forward with a fair and timely process. With an early sunset, we recommend folks come with phones, flashlights, headlamps, etc, to help truly shine a light for the rights of all workers. Staff, family members, students, faculty, alum, and community members are all invited to join us. We will be distributing our Augsburg Staff Union face masks and will be ensuring a socially distanced and peaceful event.

As always, please reach out with questions, concerns, or suggestions and hope to see you tomorrow night!

In Solidarity,

Augsburg Staff Union Organizing Committee

Ongoing ways to support:

  1. Attend our “Shine a Light” Vigil at the Augsburg House on Tuesday, 10/11 5:30pm 
  2. Download and use our Zoom virtual backgrounds for work meetings
  3. Keep up to date with the information and our actions on AugsburgStaffUnion.org and follow us on social media: facebook, instagram, and twitter pages 
  4. If you have questions about the union, want to talk to a supportive colleague, or want to add your support by signing a Union Card, contact us at AugsburgS…@gmail.com
  5. Share our petition requesting voluntary recognition and our public endorsement form with your networks.

11/5: Q+A/ Update Meeting tonight!

Email sent to all supporting staff on November 5, 2020:

Dear Fellow Augsburg Union-Eligible Staff,

Just a quick reminder that we’re gathering via zoom tonight @7pm, for an update on our meeting with President Pribbenow today, and possible next steps. We also want to give ample time and space for your questions to be answered. Please register using this link to receive the zoom info. 

We hope everyone can join us tonight for much more detail and discussion, but the quick update is the President indicated an openness to a fair process that does not involve the Trump-appointed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). While we are disappointed that the administration declined to voluntarily recognize us, and has yet to formalize their agreement to a fair process that is timely and includes all the staff that have organized, we’re hopeful this is a first step in the right direction towards having our Union legally recognized. President Pribbenow committed to formalize his response by Wednesday, 11/11.

Additionally, the Echo published two relevant pieces in this week’s paper:

Augsburg Staff Form Union 

BIPOC Staff Mistreatment Factor in Unionization

As always, please reach out with questions, concerns, or suggestions. 

We look forward to seeing you this evening. Go Auggies! 

Augsburg Staff Union 

& OPEIU Local 12

Ongoing ways to support:

  1. Attend our “Shine a Light” Vigil at the Augsburg House on Tuesday, 10/11 5:30pm 
  2. Download and use our Zoom virtual backgrounds for work meetings
  3. Keep up to date with the information and our actions on AugsburgStaffUnion.org and follow us on social media: facebook, instagram, and twitter pages 
  4. If you have questions about the union, want to talk to a supportive colleague, or want to add your support by signing a Union Card, contact us at AugsburgS…@gmail.com
  5. Share our petition requesting voluntary recognition and our public endorsement form with your networks.

11/4 Update & Invitation

Email sent to supporting staff on November 4, 2020:

Dear Augsburg Union-Eligible Staff,

During this challenging week of uncertainty, we’re so thankful for this community. Regardless of what happens over the next few days, we know that this union is what democracy looks like. Our union is real collective action that has the potential to bring about substantive changes in all our lives. We will win and we will make Augsburg a better place for all students, faculty, and staff alike.

The Augsburg Staff Union Organizing Committee would like to invite you to a campaign update and Q&A session, tomorrow, Thursday, 11/5 at 7:00 pm CST via zoom. Please register using this link to receive the zoom info. 

On Thursday morning, members of our Organizing Committee are meeting with President Pribbenow. The purpose of the evening session is to share an update on that meeting, as well as next steps in our process to win recognition of our union and answer any questions from staff. 

Please feel free to pre-submit questions by replying to this email to ensure your question is answered.

We hope everyone is taking good care of yourselves, colleagues, and loved ones during this challenging week. We’re looking forward to seeing all those who can attend tomorrow, and as always, please reach out with any questions, concerns, or suggestions. 

Thank you!

Augsburg Staff Union 

& OPEIU Local 12

Ongoing ways to support:

  1. Attend our “Shine a Light” Vigil at the Augsburg House on Tuesday, 10/11 5:30pm
  2. Download and use our Zoom virtual backgrounds for work meetings
  3. Keep up to date with the information and our actions on AugsburgStaffUnion.org and follow us on social media: facebook, instagram, and twitter pages 
  4. If you have questions about the union, want to talk to a supportive colleague, or want to add your support by signing a Union Card, contact us at AugsburgS…@gmail.com
  5. Share our petition requesting voluntary recognition and our public endorsement form with your networks.

10/30 Update: Together for Our Future

Email sent to supporting staff on October 30, 2020:

Hello,

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

Going Public Today!

Email sent to all supporting staff on October 29, 2020:

Good morning, 

Today is a great day because we’re going public with our intent to form an Augsburg Staff Union!

Here are a few steps you can take today to amplify this effort:

  1. To celebrate the strength of our collective voice, join us in Murphy Square Park today at 11:50 am. We will be passing out Augsburg Staff Union-branded masks, celebrating this historic moment, and talking through the vision we have for our campaign. We will be adhering to guidelines for COVID safety, including keeping six feet of social distance and wearing face masks – we ask that anyone planning to attend also follow these guidelines. We hope you can join us in celebrating, as well as pick up your mask to show your Augsburg Staff Union support.
  1. If you use social media, like and share our facebook, instagram, and twitter pages (insert links!) after 12:00 pm today.
  1. To proudly show your support, use one of these virtual Zoom backgrounds during your meetings after 12:00 pm starting today and moving forward!

Feel free to email us with any questions.

Let’s celebrate our collective voice!

Augsburg Staff Union Organizing CommitteeOPEIU Local 12

Staff Union Campaign Update

Email sent out to all supporting staff on October 28, 2020:

Hello,

We have reached a very exciting moment in our Augsburg Staff Union campaign! We will officially deliver our public letter to President Pribbenow this Thursday, October 29th, and kick off the public phase of our campaign. We are hoping that President Pribbenow and the Augsburg Board of Regents will respond to the letter within one week and grant us voluntary recognition of our union. However, we are also prepared with other steps to take in order to win our voice and seat at the table – this could include further collective action, outreach to the community and other stakeholders, and more.

Since we are kicking off our public campaign, we wanted to celebrate the strength of our collective voices. We are gathering in Murphy Square Park on Thursday, October 29th at 11:50 am. We will be passing out Augsburg Staff Union-branded masks, celebrating this historic moment, and talking through the vision we have for our campaign. We will be adhering to guidelines for COVID safety, including keeping six feet of social distance and wearing face masks – we ask that anyone planning to attend also follow these guidelines. We hope you can join us in celebrating, as well as pick up your mask to show your Augsburg Staff Union support.

As always, we’re here if you have any questions. We are so excited to take this monumental step forward together for our future!

In solidarity,

Augsburg Staff Union Organizing Committee

OPEIU Local 12