Augsburg employees made history on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, becoming the first unionized professional staff at a private university in Minnesota. Professional and clerical employees voted overwhelmingly – 75% voting yes – to form their staff union with OPEIU Local 12.
The vote, which was conducted by the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services involving 134 employees, was the culmination of a campaign that became public in October when the staff came forward to request union recognition.
“For over a year, coworkers have come together to imagine a stronger Augsburg community – a community that values and trusts its staff,” said Uriah Ward, a Student Financial Services Counselor. “We have spent countless hours organizing and we’re excited that an overwhelming majority of staff have voted to form our union!”
Augsburg staff members, who have faced layoffs, furloughs, pay and benefit cuts, and safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, organized around having a voice in the decisions that affect them, their coworkers, and students. Other long-standing concerns included a lack of paid parental leave, racial and gender pay gaps, and increasing workloads without compensation. The group now turns to begin negotiating with the Augsburg administration who have pledged to work with the union in good faith. A focus of the campaign has been the connection between the wellbeing of staff members and the support they provide to helping students succeed at the university.
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