IFO Lawsuit Update

As we notified you last summer, the IFO is currently embroiled in a lawsuit brought forward by a self-proclaimed anti-union professor. The professor claims in their case that the IFO should be prohibited from serving as the democratically elected representative of all faculty at the seven Minnesota State universities. The suit contends that  union contracts that protect public employees  are unconstitutional. 

Since the last update, we have proven to the courts that the IFO strengthens the faculty’s democratic rights to associate together freely and to speak collectively on terms and conditions of employment and other issues of mutual concern. After filing the lawsuit, the professor immediately asked the court to prohibit the IFO from representing our bargaining unit. The Federal District Court denied the request, and that denial was upheld on appeal. So, the IFO has prevailed at every stage of this case thus far, and longstanding Supreme Court precedent supports public employees’ rights.

The professor now has rushed to file a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide to hear the case at this early stage. The IFO’s response opposing that petition will be submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court by March 27, 2019.

Our case has caught the attention of 4 International Unions that represent public employees -- SEIU, AFSCME, NEA and AFT. Those unions approached us to assist with our response to the Supreme Court. After our response is submitted, the Supreme Court will decide whether or not to take the case. We believe it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will decide to hear the case at this point.

This lawsuit is part of a nationally coordinated strategy by powerful forces aiming to destroy collective bargaining. It is a direct attack on our shared values and collective voice. United, we are powerful advocates – and our nation-wide union solidarity threatens the national anti-labor organizations behind these attacks. Our members know that a strong faculty union is vital to the success of our students and communities. In the face of these attacks, we stand united and will continue our mission of providing an extraordinary education that is accessible and affordable for all.