Minnesota State has adopted a Respectful Workplace Procedure that addresses concerns about applicability to higher education of the Respectful Workplace Policy, which Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) had promulgated to cover state employees generally.
This resulting Procedure reflects a protracted process in which the IFO and MSCF (Minnesota State College Faculty union) have advocated for and achieved specific changes to address faculty concerns. Here are the key changes that the Unions won for faculty:
- Protecting free speech and free inquiry. [1C.0.2, Part 5, Subpart C]
- Exempting “Employee feedback and recommendations regarding peers where such feedback and recommendations are solicited by the employer, are a routine part of the employee’s job duties, or where the right to make the recommendation is conferred by a collective bargaining agreement or compensation plan, provided that . . . such feedback and recommendations are given in a professional and respectful manner.” [1C.0.2, Part 5, Subpart B, 3rd bullet]
- Exempting activity protected by the Public Employment Labor Relations Act, such as union activity, grievance handling, and collective enforcement of workplace rights. [1C.0.2, Part 5, Subpart B, 4th bullet]
- Under “Expectations” – changing mandatory reporting to “encouraged.” [1C.0.2, Part 5, Subpart A]
- Establishing campus-based processes: Universities may adopt an alternative resolution and complaint procedures consistent with the basic elements of those prescribed in the Procedure.
Now that the Procedure is in effect, the IFO and Faculty Associations are engaging in the process of clarifying what it means and how it will work, beginning with the meet and confer process state-wide and on campuses.
In the spirit of collegiality and solidarity, the IFO encourages faculty to engage in informal resolution where possible. To that end, the IFO has provided training for campus-based anti-bullying task forces and has identified resources who are able to intervene and facilitate conflict resolution. If you have any questions about this Procedure, contact IFO Labor & Equity Officer Kathryn Engdahl, firstname.lastname@example.org