A proposal to unionize more than 100 faculty members at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) is being put to a vote, starting this week.
If approved, MCAD would become the second private college in Minnesota, after Hamline University in St. Paul, to see its faculty unionize since 2014 as part of a national organizing campaign.
Daniel Dean, a part-time instructor at MCAD, said the unionizing effort is an attempt to give faculty members more of a voice in their pay and working conditions. “I think job security is a very high priority,” he said.
The majority of MCAD’s instructors are, like Dean, adjuncts who are hired to teach one or two classes. “I’m constantly precariously employed,” he said. By forming a union, “we have a unified voice,” he said, and a chance to “effect some type of change.”
Jay Coogan, the college president, issued a brief statement, saying: “We oppose the introduction of a union and the changes that a third party would bring.” At the same time, he urged faculty members to study “the pros and cons of such a major change” before voting, adding: “If our faculty does that, we will be well-served regardless of the outcome.”
The proposal would create two bargaining units at MCAD, one for full-time faculty members and the other for part-time instructors, according to a spokesman for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The SEIU is also trying to organize faculty members at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus.
The MCAD votes will be tallied on Oct. 19.