We Stood Together in Solidarity

Header: Agusburg Staff. Augsburg Values. Augsburg Contract.

Dear Colleagues,
This morning at 10:00 am we began our third contract bargaining session. Members of the bargaining team and nearly 60 members of the Augsburg staff met with administration representatives Dawn Miller and Katie Bishop and their attorney, Meggen Lindsay. Staff members presented a statement expressing their disappointment with how the administration is attempting to dictate bargaining by not responding to our economic proposals and not paying the members of the bargaining team for their time spent bargaining.
Also in attendance were representatives of the Day Student Government. The ADSG student representatives, and the incoming ADSG president, reiterated the request they have already made to administrators. Their request is for a university-wide (students, faculty, staff, and administration) day off to grieve, heal, and process the trauma of the last week’s events, which are compounded by the ongoing stress of the Covid pandemic and violence against BIPOC communities. Many of us are student-focused staff, who see and hear these requests going unanswered by those in power. We therefore invited them to our bargaining space, to make this request again, and the students accepted this invitation.
The students and bargaining team were met with condescension and silence. Both their attorney and Katie Bishop told us students have no place at the bargaining table and they refused to talk to us until the students were gone. The administration accused the staff of manipulating students. The students were not there to negotiate on our behalf; we offered a space for students to voice their needs, with the hope that our position of equal power at the negotiation table would help amplify their request.
Their condescension was heard loud and clear, but it was their silence that spoke greater volumes. No one from the administration’s team acknowledged that about half of the entire bargaining unit had taken time out of their Saturday to support their fellow colleagues and the students. Staff showing up en masse to a bargaining meeting is a clear message to the administration that these are serious issues and that we are not going to tolerate delays any longer. They chose not to respond to our statement regarding their delays and their refusal to pay the members of the bargaining team, who are Augsburg staff.  
Today was not a waste, however, and it was clear that the message was received that our union members are invested in this process, and are paying attention to its progress. By the end of negotiations today, we came to a tentative agreement on some non-economic issues and the employer indicated that they will return to the table with more substantial counter-proposals on our initial proposal from five weeks ago.
Please see this document for our notes taken during bargaining.
We negotiate for all of our benefits. If you have questions or comments, please let us know!
How do we continue to show support going forward?
It’s important to continually demonstrate that our staff union desires meaningful, sustainable changes. Submit a photo of yourself and answer the question: what would the contract proposals mean for you? Click here to respond.
Use Zoom backgrounds and email signatures that proudly display your union support, and wear your union face mask. The more we project unity, optimism, and our desire to improve Augsburg for all, the fewer opportunities the administration has to dismiss our negotiations.
Sign the public petition asking the administration to quit delaying this process, respond to our proposals, and to pay bargaining team members for their time spent bargaining.
Attend a CAT meeting (Tuesdays at 6:30pm), and talk to your colleagues. Ask your colleagues about their reactions to what they saw in the Zoom bargaining session–do they feel frustrated, concerned, or motivated? Still have questions about what we’re doing? We are always open to being in touch to discuss this work.
We will follow up with you more regarding how the students are doing and what they are asking from the Augsburg community.