Harris-Stowe
5:11 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Harris-Stowe Faculty Vote To Form Union

Full-time faculty at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis have voted overwhelmingly to join the Missouri National Education Association.

Leaders like assistant history professor Brian Elsesser say 79 percent of those who voted agreed to join the Missouri National Education Association. The vote was certified today.

Elsesser says having a bargaining unit will help bring consistency to salaries at the university, but he says the push to form a union was driven by two principles.

“There has not been adequate shared governance," he said. "That’s one of the things we’ve been pushing for for the last two years. We’re also pushing for greater transparency. The Harris-Stowe chapter of the NEA has requested financial books from the university three months ago. We still haven’t received those."

And speech and theater director Beverly Buck Brennan says the unionization will give professors greater input on curriculum - like letting administrators know that six-week sessions of summer school wouldn’t work for many students.

"Sometimes we get transfer students from Saint Louis University who are Chinese and want to go home for a good part of the summer," she said. "Also, our own students at Harris-Stowe who take summer classes, many have childcare issues, many want summer employment."           

A university spokeswoman says the administration looks forward to hearing the concerns of the union and working to address them.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann