Press

Local 284 Member Kristi Scott Wins Stearns County Health & Safety Award!

Kristi Scott

Kristi Scott, the first cook at McKinley-ALC school in the St. Cloud (742) School District, was recently awarded this years Health Safety Award from Stearns County. The award is based off of a five-year performance review, and it means your health inspection reports have to show no infractions during that time. Congratulations to Kristi and a big thank you to all SEIU Local 284 members who do such amazing work for our students and our community.

You can read more about Kristi and her team’s award on the District’s website HERE.

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Adjunct Faculty at Augsburg College Vote to Join SEIU Local 284 in Push to Raise Standards

Second faculty union win in as many months marks growing movement as Augsburg College adjuncts join Hamline, MCAD, U of M in fight to improve higher education

MINNEAPOLIS – Over 200 adjunct faculty at Augsburg College formed a faculty union with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 284 in balloting that ended Monday. Instructors formed a union for a stronger voice to improve teaching conditions and advocate on behalf of students.

“I voted yes to form an adjunct faculty union at Augsburg because I love teaching here, but I pay more in child care than I make from teaching and it is unsustainable,” said Jessica Ennis, an Adjunct Instructor in Physics at Augsburg College. “We need to work together as adjunct faculty, tenure-line faculty, and administrators to improve our teaching conditions and student’s learning conditions.”

Ballots were mailed out to Augsburg adjunct faculty by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Tuesday, November 8 and were counted Tuesday afternoon. With a vote count of 76 to 63, 54% percent voted in favor of forming a union.

“I deeply value my relationship with Augsburg College and I am honored to serve my students and our community,” said Cory Knudtson, an Adjunct Instructor in Education. “I believe many adjuncts wanted to have a collective voice within the school to create an environment where we can best meet our students’ needs.”

Augsburg faculty join over 13,000 higher education instructors across the country who have formed unions with SEIU in the last three years to address the growing crisis in the higher education faculty profession, including adjunct faculty at Hamline University in Saint Paul and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) in Minneapolis.

Steve Boland, an Adjunct Faculty member at Hamline University, expressed the support of SEIU Local 284 members: “We are excited to hear that adjunct faculty at Augsburg have voted to join our union. We made major improvements at Hamline in our first union contract, so I am excited to think about what we can accomplish together with faculty at other colleges across the Twin Cities.”

Adjunct faculty at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) voted to join SEIU Local 284 last month, and Hamline University won their first union contract earlier this year. Tenure-track and contingent faculty at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities campus filed for a union election in January and await their election to be ordered by the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services in September.

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MN Academics United is an affiliate of SEIU Local 284. Faculty at Twin Cities colleges and universities are coming together to form unions for a stronger voice in shaping our institutions’ direction and priorities, our working conditions, and the future of higher education in Minnesota.

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Faculty at Minneapolis College of Art and Design Vote Overwhelmingly to Join SEIU Local 284 as Augsburg College Faculty File for Union Election

Twin Cities Faculty Union Movement Grows as Two Minneapolis Colleges Join Hamline, U of M in Fight to Improve Higher Ed

MINNEAPOLIS – Over 100 part-time and full-time faculty from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) voted overwhelmingly to form a faculty union with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 284 in balloting that ended yesterday, just days after adjunct faculty at Augsburg College filed for their own union election. Instructors at both institutions are forming unions for a stronger voice to improve teaching conditions and advocate on behalf of students.

“I am thrilled to see such a resounding vote for forming our union amongst both part-time and full-time faculty,” said Daniel Dean, an Adjunct in Media at MCAD. “Now, we can work together towards changes that will improve our working conditions as well as our students’ experience. As part-time adjunct faculty, we need to know that we will be able to be there for our students when they need us.”

“I want to form an adjunct faculty union at Augsburg because I love teaching here – so much so that I am teaching this semester at a financial loss, as I did over the summer,” said Jessica Ennis, an Adjunct Instructor in Physics at Augsburg College. “I have two small children, and I pay more in child care than I make from teaching. This is not sustainable in the long term for my family and me, for my students, or for the Augsburg administration.”

Ballots were mailed out to MCAD faculty two weeks ago by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and were counted this afternoon for separate bargaining units of part-time adjunct faculty and ranked full-time faculty. With a vote count of 43 to 20 amongst part-time faculty and 16 to 13 amongst full-time faculty, 64% percent voted in favor of forming a union. MCAD faculty hope to begin bargaining their first contract before the end of the year. No election timeline has yet been set for Augsburg, but faculty requested an election by mail ballot in November.

MCAD faculty join over 13,000 higher education instructors across the country who have formed unions with SEIU in the last three years to address the growing crisis in the higher education faculty profession, including adjunct faculty at Hamline University in Saint Paul.

Steve Boland, an Adjunct Faculty member at Hamline University, expressed the support of SEIU Local 284 members: “We are excited to hear that part-time and full-time faculty at MCAD have voted to join our union and that adjuncts at Augsburg will have the same opportunity. We made major improvements at Hamline in our first union contract, including a 20% increase in base pay for more than half of adjunct faculty after ten years without an increase, so I am excited to think about what we can accomplish together with faculty at other colleges across the Twin Cities.”

Hamline University won their first union contract with SEIU Local 284 earlier this year. Tenure-track and contingent faculty at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities campus filed for a union election in January and await their election to be ordered by the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services after it affirmed the requested combined bargaining unit in a decision released last month.

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MN Academics United is an affiliate of SEIU Local 284. Faculty at Twin Cities colleges and universities are coming together to form unions for a stronger voice in shaping our institutions’ direction and priorities, our working conditions, and the future of higher education in Minnesota.

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Faculty at Minneapolis College of Art and Design Vote Overwhelmingly to Join SEIU Local 284 as Augsburg College Faculty File for Union Election

Twin Cities Faculty Union Movement Grows as Two Minneapolis Colleges Join Hamline, U of M in Fight to Improve Higher Ed

MINNEAPOLIS – Over 100 part-time and full-time faculty from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) voted overwhelmingly to form a faculty union with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 284 in balloting that ended yesterday, just days after adjunct faculty at Augsburg College filed for their own union election. Instructors at both institutions are forming unions for a stronger voice to improve teaching conditions and advocate on behalf of students.

“I am thrilled to see such a resounding vote for forming our union amongst both part-time and full-time faculty,” said Daniel Dean, an Adjunct in Media at MCAD. “Now, we can work together towards changes that will improve our working conditions as well as our students’ experience. As part-time adjunct faculty, we need to know that we will be able to be there for our students when they need us.”

“I want to form an adjunct faculty union at Augsburg because I love teaching here – so much so that I am teaching this semester at a financial loss, as I did over the summer,” said Jessica Ennis, an Adjunct Instructor in Physics at Augsburg College. “I have two small children, and I pay more in child care than I make from teaching. This is not sustainable in the long term for my family and me, for my students, or for the Augsburg administration.”

Ballots were mailed out to MCAD faculty two weeks ago by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and were counted this afternoon for separate bargaining units of part-time adjunct faculty and ranked full-time faculty. With a vote count of 43 to 20 amongst part-time faculty and 16 to 13 amongst full-time faculty, 64% percent voted in favor of forming a union. MCAD faculty hope to begin bargaining their first contract before the end of the year. No election timeline has yet been set for Augsburg, but faculty requested an election by mail ballot in November.

MCAD faculty join over 13,000 higher education instructors across the country who have formed unions with SEIU in the last three years to address the growing crisis in the higher education faculty profession, including adjunct faculty at Hamline University in Saint Paul.

Steve Boland, an Adjunct Faculty member at Hamline University, expressed the support of SEIU Local 284 members: “We are excited to hear that part-time and full-time faculty at MCAD have voted to join our union and that adjuncts at Augsburg will have the same opportunity. We made major improvements at Hamline in our first union contract, including a 20% increase in base pay for more than half of adjunct faculty after ten years without an increase, so I am excited to think about what we can accomplish together with faculty at other colleges across the Twin Cities.”

Hamline University won their first union contract with SEIU Local 284 earlier this year. Tenure-track and contingent faculty at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities campus filed for a union election in January and await their election to be ordered by the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services after it affirmed the requested combined bargaining unit in a decision released last month.

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MN Academics United is an affiliate of SEIU Local 284. Faculty at Twin Cities colleges and universities are coming together to form unions for a stronger voice in shaping our institutions’ direction and priorities, our working conditions, and the future of higher education in Minnesota.

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Hamline University Adjuncts Vote Overwhelmingly To Ratify First Union Contract

The contract, reached in December, will help promote stability through substantial wage increases and new professional development fund

St. Paul, MN – Adjunct faculty at Hamline University voted to ratify their historic first contract with the University on Friday evening after a full day of voting. The contract, reached in December, was called a win for faculty, students and whole university. After 10 years without a raise, adjuncts voted to form their Union with SEIU Local 284 in June of 2014, and negotiated their first contract for over a year. The contract was ratified with over 95% of ballots voting “yes,” and the new contract will go into effect for the spring semester.

Mark Felton, a Hamline adjunct in the business school and member of the bargaining team, praised the vote and expressed excitement about the first contract going into effect.

“Like my fellow faculty, I joined this fight for a first contract because I truly love teaching and want what is best for students, faculty and the larger Hamline community,” said Felton, who has taught at various higher education institutions in Minnesota for over 10 years. “We hope that our contract ratification, and the reality that our gains are locked in with a union contract so that they can’t be taken away later, will help to inspire others to stand up and fight to strengthen higher education across Minnesota. Increasing wages after all these years, establishing a professional development fund and crafting a system where adjuncts have advance notice of when they will teach courses will all help to create an environment where we have the capacity to do what we love to do, which is spend time with and teach our students. We know that we couldn’t have made these amazing gains without the support of students and the community who also want to make Hamline as great as possible. We are proud that we came together and made this contract a reality.”

David Weiss, Steward of the Union and Adjunct Instructor in Religion, shared how this contract will move Hamline forward.

“Having taught as an adjunct faculty member at Hamline since 2004, I am especially pleased to see this contract ratified. Hamline’s commitment to teaching excellence is now backed up by a commitment to more timely notice of teaching appointments as well as professional development support for adjunct faculty. Similarly, the University’s value of social justice is now echoed in placing renewed value on the work of its adjunct faculty,” said Weiss. “This isn’t just a ‘win’ for those of us who are adjuncts. It’s a win for the students in our classrooms and for our fulltime faculty colleagues. Bargaining a first contract is never easy, but thanks to long hours and hard work by both bargaining teams, this contract strengthens the fabric of Hamline University as whole. Although President Miller wasn’t directly involved in negotiations, this is a significant and positive accomplishment so early in her tenure at Hamline.”

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

  • All adjunct faculty will receive a raise. A majority will receive a 15% increase in Year 1 and base pay will increase by 20% by the 17-18 fiscal year.
    • Additional compensation for terminal degree and length of service will increase base pay in Year 1 by 25% and by 30% in fiscal year 17-18 .
  • A professional development fund will be established.
  • Adjunct Faculty will have much earlier notice of courses they will teach, and will be compensated for work if there is a last minute cancellation. Additionally, they will have the first right to teach a course they design or be compensated for the design.
  • Establishment of a Union/University Collaboration Committee (otherwise known as a Labor Management Committee)

The contract ratification comes just weeks after tenure-line and contingent faculty at the University of Minnesota filed for a union election with the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services. With approximately 2,500 instructional faculty at the Twin Cities campus, this will be one of the largest single-campus faculty unions in the country.

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Hamline University Adjuncts Reach Tentative Agreement on Historic First Union Contract

The agreement, called a victory for both faculty and students, will help promote stability through substantial wage increases and new professional development fund

St. Paul, Minn – Late Wednesday night, adjunct faculty at Hamline University reached a tentative agreement for their historic first contract with the University. After 10 years without a raise, adjuncts voted overwhelmingly to form their Union with SEIU Local 284 in June of 2014, and have been negotiating their first contract with the University for over a year. The adjunct faculty on the bargaining team praised the contract as a strong step forward to improving Hamline for adjuncts, students and the whole Hamline community.

Mark Felton, a Hamline adjunct in the business school and member of the bargaining team, highlighted how the contract is a “win-win” for everyone at Hamline.

“Teaching is my passion, which is why I joined the fight to win this first contract that makes Hamline stronger for both adjunct faculty and our students,” said Felton, who has taught at various Higher Education institutions in Minnesota for over 10 years. “Increasing wages after all these years, establishing a professional development fund and crafting a system where adjuncts have advance notice of when we will teach courses will all help to create an environment where we have the capacity to do what we love to do, which is spend time with and teach our students. We always believed we could reach an agreement that moves everyone forward, and we are proud that we came together and made this contract a reality.”

Della Zurick, a Hamline adjunct who teaches political theory and is a member of the bargaining team, shared that her love of her students got her involved in the campaign and why their support helped to make the contract a reality.

“I teach my students about standing up for their convictions, and feel strongly that this contract does just that for Hamline adjuncts who have fought so hard for what is best for both faculty and students,” said Zurick. “I feel called to teach, and find great joy in engaging with my Hamline students. It has been amazing to see and hear the support they have given us throughout my time on the campaign.  I believe this contract will help to strengthen that experience for all involved at Hamline. When adjuncts aren’t having to run from one job to the next, scrambling to fit together various pieces, it gives us more time to actually teach our students.”

Hamline students have been strong supporters of the adjuncts during the campaign for a first contract. Kyle McGuinn, a first year MFA student at Hamline, shared why he worked to support adjuncts and why he was excited for this first contract.

“This agreement is a great step forward for both Hamline students and faculty. Students supported the adjuncts bargaining for a fair first contract because we know that if our teachers are paid fairly and given the support they need, they will have more time to invest in our education,” said McGuinn. “I’m proud that adjuncts stood up for a better future for higher education, and proud that the student body showed our support for the teachers that make our education possible. This is a big win for all of Hamline.”

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

  • Raises for all adjunct faculty. A majority will receive a 15% increase in year 1 and base pay will increase by 20% by the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
  • Additional compensation for adjuncts with their terminal degree and length of service will increase base pay in year 1 by 25% and by 30% in fiscal year 2017-2018.
  • A professional development fund will be established.
  • Adjunct faculty will receive much earlier notice of courses they will teach, and will be compensated for work if there is a last minute cancellation. Additionally, they will have the first right of refusal to teach a course they design or be compensated for the curriculum.
  • Establishment of a Union/University Collaboration Committee (otherwise known as a Labor Management Committee)

Adjunct faculty in the bargaining unit will vote in early 2016 on ratification of the agreement, which would then go into effect for the Spring semester.

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Mike Poke Letter to the Editor-Sun Sailor

To the Editor:

Although my job title is “custodian” in Wayzata Public Schools, I am also a counselor, a friend and an advocate. Students call me “Mentor Mike,” and many students who are having problems at school talk to me. Because of that, I see firsthand the much discussed achievement gap between students of color and white students every day. To me, it’s not a statistic. It’s real kids who are failing while watching their peers succeed.

I work hard to try to reduce that gap and support these kids, but there are barriers to success. One barrier is the many stress factors from their environment and home life, while another is institutionalized racism in our school system.

There are a few proposals that have been put forward this legislative session that actually address the problems I see.

The “full service community schools” would address the nonacademic barriers by bringing parents and community members to the table to support our kids. It’s a proven model in helping schools beat the odds for students of color and students in poverty.

Another proposal would help people of color become teachers by offsetting some of the costs. This has been a problem in Minnesota, and kids would benefit from seeing people who look like them in front of the classroom.

In Minnesota, we don’t like to talk much about race. But the more the legislature brings in teachers, staff, parents, and community members to address it together, the more they will change.

There are a lot of proposals flying around the Capitol, but if the legislature is serious about reducing the achievement gap, I hope they listen to Mentor Mike and take these seriously.

Mike Poke

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Dear Legislature: Choose Educations Over Corporations-Article in St. Cloud Times

st cloud times Read the full Article here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Press Releases

For Immediate Release – May 5, 2014

Contact: Josh Keller, SEIU, 612-270-2984

School Staff From Greater Minnesota and Metro Join Heated Battle Over Education Budget

Statements come as conference committees begin meeting at Capitol over budget proposal that will create harmful, unnecessary cuts to schools at time of budget surplus

St. Paul, MN – Hundreds of school staff and parents from Greater Minnesota and the Metro area joined together in signing a letter to the education conference committee that was delivered today as legislators began to negotiate between the House and Senate Omnibus Education bills at the Capitol.

The House and Senate proposals would mean cuts to essential programs and would stop any progress made from the investments of the previous legislative session. Real education funding is especially important for Greater Minnesota, as many facilities are in dire need of repair.

School staff and parents from across the state commented on why they believe that the current House and Senate proposals, and the cuts that would come with them, would be harmful for students and families across the state.

“We spent a decade balancing our state’s budget on the backs of our students, and now that our economy is growing, we can finally afford to start re-investing in our children’s education. But the legislature is seriously proposing funding our schools at a level so low that it can only lead to program cuts and layoffs for many districts.  This saddens and angers me,” said Lori Smith, Food Service worker, St Cloud. “As a mother and longtime worker in our schools I urge our legislature to fund our children’s schools adequately and equitably – our children are our future.”

“As a parent with four kids in the Elk River school system I remember too many years of tight budgets that led to larger class sizes.  With teachers stretched with too many kids in the class room how could they not let kids fall   through the cracks,” said Leanne Musjgerd, a parent in Elk River. “Now again our legislators are proposing a budget that leave a big hole in our district’s budget. It sounds to me like kids will have to once again sacrifice opportunities because of the lack of adequate funding. I want to see the legislature fund our schools adequately and equitably across Minnesota whether a metro school or an outstate one.  All or children deserve our support. “

“As a custodian in Lakeville School District, I have seen firsthand the repercussions of ten years of budget cuts.  Custodians have been cut year after year, there is always a shortage of supplies and work spread far too thin,” said Anna Angeles-Farris, a parent and custodian in the ISD 194 Lakeville school district.At a minimum, our kids should go to school in clean, healthy and safe facilities. Beyond that, they deserve quality education in the arts and languages, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math.), career services, counselors and other student supports- all of which are the often the first to go when districts make cuts.  How can we we get our children and grandchildren career ready if we don’t have the funding?

“I have worked for a great school district for the past 12 years in many different capacities, and have always been proud of our education system in Minnesota.  I fear with only a 1% increase, we won’t be able to keep that reputation, said Marie Beck, clerical worker in Wayzata Public Schools. “Already, classes are becoming crowded and the staff is dwindling.  When the district is underfunded and can’t keep up with inflationary increases, that will get worse and worse.  We are forming the minds of the future- they should be our state’s top priority.  If we can’t give them adequate funding now, in a year with a surplus, then when?”

 

“Kids are our future. As an Academic Behavior Manager/Instructional Assistant working with 12-21 year old kids in the Cambridge – Isanti schools, I love seeing them grow and develop and become unique human beings. But now I’m afraid that we’re about to see cuts to our schools, cuts to staff, cuts to programs. My co-workers and I don’t get rich working in our schools–I work three jobs to make ends meet–but the reward is in seeing our kids succeed,” said Tracey D Tawyea, a para education in Cambridge. “All these cuts will hurt our kids and our educators. Our state is better than that.  In a year with a surplus, our elected representatives need to fund our kids K-12 education and pass a budget that at least keeps up with the rate of inflation– our kids deserve it.

The frustration from parents and school staff about comes as a growing statewide coalition, including Principals and School Board Members, has called on elected officials to truly fund education this year.

The St Cloud Board of Education passed a unanimous resolution to support the House Minority proposal, which would include a 2% increase each year, funding for facilities, teacher development and special education.  “The House majority budget will inflict serious damage on public schools throughout the state. School districts have endured years of tight budgets, underfunding of special education and below average formula increases,” said Jerry Von Korff, a member of the St. Cloud School Board. “This was understandable as Minnesota was navigating a deep recession, but it is inexplicable right now.”

“A 1/1 increase this biennium would be especially hard on districts in Greater Minnesota, who get less per- pupil than metro districts” said Mark Bezek, the Superintendent of Elk River School District.  “Elk River would be facing a $2.5 million budget hole.”

According to a survey conducted by the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, with a less than 1% increase, the projected shortfall would result in cuts and staff layoffs.

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SEIU Local 284 represents 8700 bus drivers, paraprofessionals, food service workers, early learning employees, clerical staff and custodians throughout the state of Minnesota.

 

Posted by SEIU Local 284 on

St Paul, MN — School support staff and members of SEIU Local 284 praised the “Excellence in Education” package released today. The goal of the collected bills is to close the achievement gap by increasing support and equity for all school districts. 

Class_Room_Seats_rsThe package was released by Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood), Sen. Kevin Dahle (DFL-Northfield), Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin), Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury), Sen. Alice Johnson (DFL-Blaine), Sen. Greg Clausen (Apple Valley) and Sen. Melisa Franzen (DFL-Edina).

SEIU Members issued the following statements:

On Facilities (S75 & S76)

Larry Bodnar, Custodian, ISD 724 Elk River

“When we need parking lots and roofs repaired, or carpets and boilers replaced, it would be nice to have the funding to just do it—instead we have to wait and just hope the voters approve it in the next referendum.  We need to make sure all students- no matter where they live- have quality learning facilities.”

Cheryl Hegge, Custodian, ISD332, Mora

“As a custodian, I do everything I can do make the school clean and presentable- but without adequate funding it’s difficult- and the problems get worse as time goes on.  A few years ago, when the roof started leaking over the service line in our cafeteria- the staff got inventive.  The cafeteria staff moved service into the cafeteria using folding tables.  We had a giant pot on top of the ceiling tiles that we dumped out every night when it rained and snowed.  The district finally passed a referendum to fix some of these problems, but our students shouldn’t have had to wait to have adequate facilities.”

On Free Breakfast (S344)

Colleen Nocerini, Child Nutrition, ISD197 West St. Paul     

“As a School Nutrition specialist, I see kids everyday who come to school hungry. Case studies have shown great improvement in both academic achievement and attendance with all school free breakfast.  Making free school breakfast available for the whole state will send the message to schools and parents that we value our kids, and that their health and ability to learn are a priority to all of us.”

 

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Hamline University Adjuncts Form a Union

In a victory for adjunct faculty across the nation, Hamline University adjuncts in St. Paul have voted overwhemlingly to join part-time faculty at Northeastern University, Georgetown University and thousands of instructors nationwide in a rapidly growing union movement.

The victory marks the first time that adjunct faculty at a private Twin Cities-area university have formed a union in their quest to improve higher education for students and faculty. Hamline adjuncts will join SEIU Local 284 , with 72% of the valid ballots counted voted yes to forming the union.

David Weiss is an adjunct faculty in the Religion department at Hamline and spoke about why the win reflects a victory for the entire Hamline community.

“This is a great day for faculty, students, and the whole Hamline community. It was clear in this campaign that for adjuncts in Minnesota, our time is now. By coming together to address the low pay and lack of benefits and stability for adjunct faculty, we are taking steps to strengthen all of higher education for students and faculty alike. I’m confident that our success today will help empower other workers, including adjunct faculty like ourselves at schools like St. Thomas, to change working and learning conditions in higher education,” he said.

Jennifer Beckham teaches in the English department and spoke about the great opportunity this provides Hamline.

“We sent a letter to Provost Jensen expressing our interest in building a productive relationship that reflects our shared value in making Hamline a great place for faculty and students. Adjuncts have been energized by the support of tenured faculty, students, alumni, and community supporters throughout this process, and we look forward to continuing this important work.”

Minnesota adjuncts are joining a fast-growing union movement, as adjuncts come together to take on this crisis in higher education that has turned what was once a good middle-class profession into a low-wage, no-benefits job without any job security from semester to semester. Now their vision is to take this work a step further – to unite adjunct faculty market wide, and across the country – because this crisis in higher education will not be solved one school at a time.

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