The Union Stew 10/20

Dear Hamline Colleagues –

Stew’s simmering now! “I support Hamline adjuncts” buttons are appearing around campus, and today is the day we release the video. The link is below, but first, since several of you have asked, here’s a word of clarity about our right to be visible in this way.

The things we are doing right now (wearing buttons, sharing videos, displaying signs) are all considered “protected activity” under the U.S. labor law as enforced by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Specifically we have the right to act together to try to improve our pay and working conditions, with or without a union. If Hamline penalizes us in any way for taking part in protected group activity, the NLRB will step in. These rights were written into the original 1935 National Labor Relations Act and have been upheld in numerous decisions by appellate courts and by the U.S. Supreme Court. Because Hamline has a very labor-savvy attorney working for them (and knows that SEIU has very labor-savvy attorneys working for it) it is highly unlikely that Hamline will attempt to suppress our concerted efforts in any way. IF THEY DO, PLEASE CONTACT ME IMMEDIATELY.

What constitutes “protected concerted activity”? Generally speaking, you need to answer YES to two questions. (1) Is the activity concerted? That is, does it involve two or more employees acting together to improve wages or working conditions? In fact, the action of a single employee may be considered concerted if he or she involves co-workers before acting, or acts on behalf of others. (2) Does the activity seek to benefit more than just the single employee? That is, does the action aim to support the pursuit of improvements—whether in pay, hours, safety, workload, or other terms of employment—that will benefit more than just the employee taking action? Clearly we can answer YES to both questions.

There are conditions that can cause the activity to lose it protected status: Reckless or malicious behavior, such as sabotaging equipment, threatening violence, spreading lies, or revealing trade secrets, may cause concerted activity to lose its protection. So long as we steer clear of reckless or malicious behavior, we’re good. And we have NO PLANS to do anything that is reckless or malicious.

So we are on solid ground—and our ground is increasingly visible thanks to buttons and now the video.

Here is the link to the video: ( Kudos to former bargaining team member Jhon Wlaschin for his starring role, as well as to several Hamline students who make up the supporting cast. The video runs just under three minutes and concludes with a link to the SEIU Local 284 website and the petition of support for a fair contract. You can share the video via email, or you can paste it right into a Facebook post. PLEASE SHARE IT—starting today. It’s already been viewed 1500+ times; let’s see how quickly we can double that!

Tomorrow (Wednesday, 10/20) is the official “launch” day for window signs. I hear that a few signs are already up, which is fine, but let’s really try to multiply them on Wednesday. I’ll be on campus most of that day and part of Friday as well, so contact me if you want a sign (or buttons). Buttons and signs can be shared with our supporters. Our goal is to make sure Hamline knows that the time to get a contract done is now.

Remember, buttons every day; Hamline colors (burgundy & grey) every Monday and Thursday. And signs in offices, car windows, home windows, apartment/dorm windows from Wednesday until a contract is in place. We bargain again on Monday, October 26, and together we can help make sure Hamline sits down at the table ready to make real movement.

David Weiss
Religion Department
Steward for Hamline Adjunct Faculty Union, SEIU Local 284


Our Facebook page: (

Our petition to sign and share: (

Find earlier editions of Hamline “Union Stew”: (



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