As we move forward with our staff union officially recognized, we want to give you a few updates on the next steps in the process and how you can be involved. Here are some of the things we’ll be doing over the coming weeks as we prepare for negotiations on our first contract!
Contract Action Team
We will be forming a Contract Action Team (CAT) of leaders who will serve as a communication network to ensure that every staff member is being directly and consistently updated and heard from. This group is open to everyone and we would love you to join us for our first meeting on Tuesday, January 26th at 6:30pm. Register here to attend and feel free to join for more information even if you’re not sure of what role you’d like to play. Ideally we would have at least one leader from every department in our bargaining unit on the CAT team. Please let us know if you’re interested in representing your department on the CAT!
One of the things we’ll do at the first CAT team meeting is review and begin distributing our bargaining surveys. These surveys (which will also be sent out to everyone electronically) will be a crucial part of our process to ensure that we have a complete understanding of what every staff member’s priorities are for the contract. Please make sure to watch for the survey when it is sent out and make sure to take time to complete one.
There will be a section on the bargaining surveys that allow you to nominate yourself or someone else to serve on our bargaining team. After we’ve received surveys and nominations, we’ll hold an election (also electronically) to form our official Bargaining Team that will be representing us at the bargaining table for negotiations with the administration. We’ll be sharing more details about this process in the coming weeks, but don’t hesitate to reach out with questions about this role and to express interest!
Now that we have been recognized as a union, we have new rights immediately as individuals in our work at Augsburg, even before we reach an agreement on a contract:
- No Unilateral Changes. Whereas in the past, as at-will employees, the administration or managers could impose any changes they wanted on staff without any back-and-forth conversation, now that we are a union, they are required to negotiate with us over these changes. If your working conditions or any important aspect of your job is being changed that you don’t want or aren’t comfortable with, please contact us and we can help address the situation.
- Right to Representation. You now have the right to request a union representative in any meeting or conversation with a manager, supervisor, or HR that could potentially lead to discipline. If you are asked to attend such a meeting, you can say the following to invoke what are known as your Weingarten Rights: “If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or discharged, request that my Union representative be present at the meeting. Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions.” Please contact us as soon as possible if you are in this situation.
We have filed the proper paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board notifying them that Augsburg has recognized our union now that our agreed upon election process through the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services is complete.
We’ll continue to provide updates as we move forward together in this process and we invite you to get involved in as much as you are able to. We will announce other opportunities for staff members to engage and ensure that we continue building our union in the most inclusive and democratic way possible. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with your questions, concerns, feedback, and suggestions!
In solidarity,Augsburg Staff Union Organizing Committee