Letter to the Editor: Vote no on this hurried unionization effort

At last week’s Macalester Staff and Faculty Appreciation Luncheon, I, along with several other long term contingent faculty, were recognized for our years of service to the college, our students and fellow employees. I was thrilled to take my turn standing up and being publicly thanked by my colleagues.

I’m wrapping up my first decade here. I love Macalester. I love my job. I teach amazing students. I work with wonderful friends and supervisors. I consider myself to be well paid and recognize that I have a comprehensive package of benefits. For me, what could be better? Perhaps a few things, but not much.

Personally, I am troubled by how the unionization efforts have progressed here at Macalester. I am troubled by some of the tactics used and by the speed with which this has swooped into my life. What’s the hurry? Why do we need to hurry up and vote now? In my time here my job satisfaction has been consistently high and has moved in the direction of continued, incremental improvement. I don’t see how being represented by a union, a third party, can be better than personally representing myself to the two department chairs who mentor and supervise me, to the numerous members of different branches of the administration who know me by name and have worked with me over the years to achieve common goals to improve Macalester for the benefit of the students we all serve.

Contingent faculty are a tremendously varied group: I don’t see how a union can effectively represent me, a 10-year employee of two departments with significant administrative duties, and colleagues who are here for one semester to teach one course.

I don’t understand the rush for a unionization vote for contingent faculty. Have “we”, the vast array of non-uniform contingent faculty, tried working with our faculty colleagues on the key governance committees that could likely make employment changes we want? Have we had the time to decide what those changes might even be?

If the choice whether or not to unionize has to be rushed, if it can’t stand up to continued dialogue or deeper questions, if we can’t have time for reflection or for wrapping up the end of school year, then it’s not the right time to make such a major decision.

I can only speak for myself and from my own experiences. I can only cast my own vote. It will be “NO” to this hurried unionization effort.

Jerald Dosch

Biology and Environmental Studies Departments