Oct. 20, ’09 – MEA-MFT’s new members at MSU-Bozeman, the Associated Faculty of MSU (AFMSU), recently adopted a constitution and bylaws and elected their first slate of officers.
MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver congratulated Sandy Osborne and Karen Leech on their election as co-presidents.
“I am confident the two of you, with all the help others will be giving you, are up to big tasks ahead,” Feaver said.
Sandy Osborne and Karen Leech
The Bozeman Chronicle printed the following story:
Montana State University faculty union elects leaders
By GAIL SCHONTZLER Chronicle Staff Writer – October 21, 2009
The new faculty union at Montana State University has approved a constitution and elected Sandy Osborne and Karen Leech as co-presidents for the next two years.
“We’re very pleased,” Osborne, associate professor of health and human development for 22 years, said Tuesday. “We had a good attendance and are very pleased to be moving forward.”
About 80 faculty union members met Monday evening and approved the new union’s constitution, Leech said. The constitution maintains separate bargaining units for tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty, but combines them in one union, called the Associated Faculty of MSU.
“People did pretty much like that” combination, said Leech, an adjunct music instructor for 38 years. “It was very exciting to be there.”
In her election profile, Osborne described herself as a good listener who pays attention to details and is “tenacious.” Leech wrote that in her 38 years, she had seen “a long string of arbitrary policies put forth by MSU administrators, changed just as arbitrarily, and replaced with others” and that she would work to win “significant improvements in our working life at MSU.”
Also elected were two co-vice presidents, Denbigh Starkey, a computer science professor, and Kari Cargill, an adjunct faculty member in microbiology.
Patrick Hatfield, a professor of animal and range sciences, was elected treasurer, and Richard Wojtowicz, an associate professor and reference librarian, was elected secretary.
None of the positions were contested, though members could make nominations from the floor.
The next step is to urge all faculty members, whether union members or not, to fill out a survey on what the union’s bargaining priorities should be, Osborne said.
Faculty will also be asked to suggest names of members who should serve on the bargaining team.
Each department will be asked to elect tenure-track and non-tenure-track representatives to the two representative assemblies, Leech said.
No date has yet been set for bargaining to begin on a first contract, Leech said. It could take weeks or a couple months to formulate what the union will ask for, she added.
Legally, the union represents the interests of all faculty members, but only union members can vote on the contract and participate fully, Leech said. The union plans to urge as many faculty members as possible to join.
The Associated Faculty of MSU is the last faculty group in the Montana University System to unionize. The AFMSU is affiliated with the MEA-MFT teachers union, the state’s largest labor organization.
“Exciting stuff,” MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver wrote in an e-mail. “Monumental in fact.”