IFO Negotiations Update

The IFO and Minnesota State have opened negotiations for the 2019-2021 contract. The two teams scheduled their first meeting on April 12-13; however, this initial bargaining session was postponed due to the recent revisit of winter weather. The bargaining parties will instead hold their initial meeting on May 3-4 to begin this round of bargaining.

Prior to the exchange of opening proposals, the IFO and Minnesota State agreed to start negotiations with a modified form of Interested Based Collective Bargaining (IBCB), a process that the parties developed in past rounds of negotiations. This modified form of interest based bargaining is a process that is less adversarial than traditional, positional bargaining, and lends itself to more meaningful discussion around workplace issues of mutual interest and concern. The modified IBCB process was used successfully in prior negotiations to reach agreement on language changes that were seen as mutually beneficial for the employer and the IFO.

Therefore, when the IFO Negotiating Team meets with the Minnesota State representatives in May, we will determine ground rules for this round of interest based bargaining and what issues we will explore using the process. How long we continue with the IBCB process will depend on the number of issues of mutual interest the parties are able to identify and our assessment of the value of the IBCB process in helping to achieve language improvements in the contract.

As with the last several rounds of contract negotiations, the IFO is striving to improve working conditions for faculty with contingent appointments, with a particular focus on pay and benefits for faculty in adjunct and community faculty appointments. New this year, the IFO negotiating team will have the benefit of a Contingent Appointments Negotiating Team Advisory Committee throughout the entire negotiations process to inform the team on proposals affecting faculty with contingent appointments. IFO negotiations team Chair Matt Hyle met with the Contingent Appointments Advisory Committee members in March to prepare language for the IFO’s opening proposal that will advantage faculty in fixed term and adjunct/community faculty appointments.

In addition to working with the Contingent Appointments Advisory Committee on proposals for faculty in contingent appointments, the IFO Negotiating Team has been meeting for months to review all new and continuing Delegate Assembly resolutions for incorporation into the IFO’s opening proposal. At its most recent meeting, the Team worked on identifying topics and language issues that would be suitable for IBCB in May. We are ready!