Minnesota professor sues over union representation

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — A St. Cloud State University professor has filed a federal lawsuit alleging her rights are being violated because she doesn’t agree with the union that represents her.
Political science professor Kathleen Uradnik is suing St. Cloud State, the Inter Faculty Organization and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system’s board of trustees, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.
The lawsuit argues that the union is designated as university employees’ exclusive representative in violation of Uradnik’s free speech rights because she has no choice but to support the union’s actions, even if she disagrees with them. Uradnik’s attorney Robert Alt said his tenured client isn’t a paying union member.
The lawsuit also alleges that the university treats non-union faculty members as second class by barring them from serving on committees.
“This obviously ends up harming Professor Uradnik in terms of denying her the opportunity to fully participate in the university, as any professor would be able to otherwise,” Alt said.
The lawsuit follows a U.S. Supreme Court that bars public sector unions from forcing non-union members to pay “fair share” fees.
The Supreme Court’s decision “strongly hinted that exclusive representation, from a First Amendment standpoint, rests on very shaky ground,” Alt said.
Brent Jeffers is the president of the Inter Faculty Organization. He said in a statement that the lawsuit “is part of a nationally coordinated strategy by powerful forces aiming to destroy collective bargaining.
St. Cloud State spokesman Adam Hammer said the university couldn’t comment on the pending litigation.
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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

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