St. Catherine University adjunct faculty reject union representation

Rose wheel

Adjunct faculty at St. Catherine University voted against union representation by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local #284. Today the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) counted the remaining votes, and the Union did not obtain a majority of the ballots cast.

“I don’t view the result of this election as a win for a non-union position, per se. I believe it’s more so an affirmation of the way our adjunct faculty and University leadership have worked closely with one another over the course of the last year to achieve real progress in areas such as compensation, benefits and professional development,” said ReBecca Koenig Roloff, president of St. Catherine University.

This election was the result of a petition filed with the NLRB by SEIU Local #284 seeking to unionize St. Catherine adjunct faculty. On May 26, 2017, the University received formal notification from the NLRB that an election would take place. Eligible adjunct faculty submitted their votes by mail. Ballots were counted at the Regional NLRB Office in Minneapolis with both union and University representatives in attendance. The final votes were tallied this afternoon, and if neither party files any objections to the election, after seven days the NLRB’s Regional Director will certify the election results as final.

The discourse around the question of whether or adjuncts should unionize was difficult, but civil and well-organized. “This election was not an easy process for our community.” Roloff said. “There were two passionate sides to this unionization question. Discussions were vigorous and sometimes quite heated. Yet, all those involved embodied St. Kate’s tradition of engaging in respectful, frank discussions that honor diverse perspectives and opinions, regardless of the topic at hand. Ultimately, our voters were well-informed and engaged. Our community demonstrated the perfect model of how a democratic election can and should work.”

St. Catherine University is optimistic about its continued relationship with adjunct faculty. As Roloff stated, “Our adjunct faculty are highly valued professionals who are critical to our mission of educating women to lead and influence. We are committed to honoring their unique experiences and insights by ensuring they have a seat at the table as we work together to bring our shared vision to life.”