MINNEAPOLIS — An appeals court has dealt a setback to University of Minnesota Twin Cities faculty who are trying to organize a union.

The court ruled Tuesday that part-time and contingent faculty can’t join the same union as those on track for tenure because they belong to different bargaining units, the Pioneer Press reported . The university has 13 different bargaining units.

The Bureau of Mediation Services previously sided with Service Employees International Union Local 284’s petition in January 2016 to place part-time and contingent faculty in Unit 8 with full-time instructional faculty because they have similar interests.

University officials argued part-time and contingent faculty belong in Unit 11, which represents professional and administrative staff. The appellate panel agreed with the university because contingent faculty don’t have academic rank to belong to Unit 8.

The judges found that although the university is using contingent faculty more frequently, it hasn’t significantly changed the content of their work.

The effort to unionize the faculty is part of a national union push to improve the working conditions of adjunct college instructors.

Local 284 officials said they’re considering appealing the decision to the Supreme Court.

“The University’s position is a deliberate misinterpretation of what campus faculty do, explicitly intended to divide us in order to limit our power to protect and improve our working conditions, which are also our students’ learning conditions,” union officials said.


Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com