A ruling Tuesday has cleared the way for a vote this fall on forming a faculty union at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus.
The State Bureau of Mediation Services ruled in favor of union organizers, who had argued for a single bargaining unit to represent both tenured faculty and part-time adjunct instructors, about 2,500 people in all.
No date for the vote has been scheduled. But organizers say they hope to move ahead with the election this fall.
The union, Minnesota Academics United, has been in a standoff with the university for months over which categories of employees should be included in the potential bargaining unit. The university had sought to separate tenure-track professors from part-timers, or contingent faculty, who work on short-term contracts. Union organizers argued successfully to combine both groups.
“Faculty are forming a union together because we are all dedicated academics,” said Jerry Cohen, a professor of Horticultural Science, in a statement praising the decision. Both tenured and contract instructors “teach many of the same classes, participate in faculty governance, and engage in service and research,” he said.
The university issued a brief statement, saying it was disappointed in the decision.
If the union vote is successful, the Twin Cities campus would form one of the largest faculty unions in the country, organizers say.