As an association of 2,200 nonprofit organizations in the state of Minnesota, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits has long supported democratic processes and voting rights, including removing barriers so all people can exercise their rights to participate in decisions that affect their lives. We believe that deciding whether to form a union is a matter of justice and a critical right of affected employees, not their employers.
On March 9, 2021, MCN was presented with a request from six employees to unilaterally designate the Minnesota Newspaper and Communications Guild as the exclusive collective bargaining representative for a broader group of its staff. On March 12 the same employees filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board seeking a representation election, tentatively scheduled for April 9.
MCN affirms support for the March 12 petition for an election. This decision came after deliberation among MCN’s board of directors, community advisors, MCN employees and volunteers, and after receiving messages and hearing a presentation to the board from the organizing group advancing this proposal. This step fortifies the right of affected MCN staff to decide for themselves whether the union should be recognized as their representative by using a secret-ballot election administered by the National Labor Relations Board.
Workers all across America are entitled to vote on whether to organize a union in their workplace. It’s a vitally important choice – established by federal law to provide workers an opportunity to have their voice heard about whether and how to engage in collective bargaining. Union representation elections are a common and accepted democratic route to determining a potential bargaining unit’s interest in organizing, and one that MCN supports.
MCN is not simply designating the Minnesota Newspaper & Communications Guild as the exclusive collective bargaining representative for MCN employees. This is because it is critical to MCN to support the right of every eligible MCN employee to have their voice heard. Ultimately we do not see it as MCN’s role as employer to decide whether affected employees should organize – this is the role of MCN employees themselves.
MCN supports all of the rights and procedures set out in the National Labor Relations Act, and will respect any fair outcome. And if the result is a new bargaining unit, we will engage in good faith negotiations to reach agreement in the interest of both labor and management.
MCN’s goal continues to be to build a strong, healthy and productive workplace to strengthen individual nonprofits and the nonprofit sector, and we are committed to sharing our process and remain open to discussing that with the public, our 2,200-strong nonprofit membership, and other interested stakeholders at any time.