Unionization lessons from Montana

Montana State UniversityWhen activists began coming out in favor of unionized faculty on PLU’s campus, Montana State University was completing a movement of its own.

A vote passed 190-185 to dissolve the union that had represented faculty of Montana State University for the past four years on On April 24, 2013. While six contested ballots were not counted, the parent union, Montana Education Association – Montana Federation of Teachers, did not challenge the final decision of the vote.

The move to dissolve began last year when some faculty members became unsettled with the lack of progress they had been seeing.

“They’ve been here for four years,” said Bennett Link, head of the movement to dissolve the union and professor of physics at MSU. “They’ve achieved nothing significant.”

He said the union has made false claims regarding the progress it has made on the negotiating table and that “…this doesn’t really inspire a feeling of confidence in the union.”

Other faculty members expressed concern over the expensive union fees for both members and non-members alike. The union may have brought raises to many faculty members on campus, but some say that these raises are dented by the high membership fees they now have to pay. Union leaders initially predicted that union fees would cap at 1.3 percent of the member’s salary, instead fees became a flat fee of $631.

More on this story as it develops.

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2 replies

  1. One of the lessons to learn from Montana is that every union is different! SEIU, the union that contingent faculty have chosen at PLU, has much lower fees. And more importantly, contingent faculty are only asking for the right to vote on whether or not to have a union at all. We need to have the opportunity to choose ourselves, and PLU has blocked that. Let contingent faculty vote!

  2. One of the lessons to learn from Montana is that all unions are different! SEIU, the union that contingent faculty at PLU have chosen, has much lower fees. More importantly, we are only asking for the right to choose whether or not we even want a union. Let contingent faculty vote!

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