This afternoon, nearly half of the Augsburg Staff Union members attended the Focused Conversation on Augsburg’s plan to grow sustainably. We proudly displayed our Augsburg Staff Union Zoom backgrounds and Zoom profile pictures. It was an amazing demonstration of our solidarity and our resolve to win a fair contract.
Why did we do this? We are concerned with some of the administration’s actions at the bargaining table. As we’ve mentioned in previous communications, the administration’s insistence that we wait to discuss economic proposals (namely, wages and healthcare) until some unknown later date is quite concerning to us. In a fair negotiation, one side doesn’t get to dictate the terms to their liking. This is especially concerning because of how much of a priority wages and healthcare are to the staff. Our demonstration today was a reminder that our contract proposals reflect the needs of staff. They are why we organized a union.
We continue to invite the administration to offer their thoughts on how to improve the working lives of all staff. But they’ve told us they don’t view these negotiations as something that stands to benefit Augsburg as an institution, which is why they’ve not only refused to pay bargaining team members for their time spent negotiating but are insisting they use their personal vacation time. Why? After all, Dawn Miller, Katie Bishop, and their attorney Meggen Lindsay are all being paid for their time spent bargaining.
It’s deeply unfortunate that after months of staff collectively organizing ourselves around these core issues that we feel need to be addressed, the administration still won’t connect the dots between staff having a seat at the table and a better Augsburg. Sadly, this practice of our hard work going unseen and unpaid is a familiar feeling to many of us. How many extra hours do you put into your work here that go uncompensated? We are passionate about Augsburg’s mission and we proudly serve our institution. We expect Augsburg to return the favor, so we can continue to commit ourselves without the fear that one day our retirement contributions may be taken away or that we have a trip to the hospital that puts us in crushing debt. Auggies take care of one another.
Something that caught our attention during the focused conversation was that administration wants to increase staff size. We appreciate that the administration recognizes the problem of understaffing and how it limits our ability to serve the needs of students. Adequate staffing is one way to deal with the extremely high turnover rate at Augsburg. The other necessary component of that is adequate compensation and benefits.
We joined the Focused Conversation en masse today to remind the administration that we’re very serious about our proposals, and we’re committed to Augsburg.
We’re looking forward to our next round of bargaining, scheduled for Thursday, April 1st.
Supporters of the Augsburg Staff Union and our contract proposals have been using union Zoom backgrounds/profile pictures in their day-to-day meetings. Show your support:http://augsburgstaffunion.org/change-your-zoom-background/
We’ve also changed our email signatures to reflect our support for the union. Some of the language we’ve been using is:
- I am a proud supporter of the Augsburg Staff Union
- I support an Augsburg Contract with Augsburg Values
See our notes here from our Town Hall on Tuesday, March 23rd.