University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources
http://www.umn.edu/ohr
612-625-2016

Article 31 Union Rights

Section 1. General Provisions

The Minnesota Public Employee Labor Relations Act (PELRA), Minn. Statutes 179A.subd.6, provides that a public Employer must afford reasonable, unpaid time off to elected officers or appointed representatives of the exclusive representative to conduct the duties of the exclusive representative.

All Union business shall be conducted on leave without pay, accumulated vacation, or accumulated compensatory time. What follows are the only exceptions that provide for Employer paid leave:

  1. The Union Steward's activities per Section 2C and Article 21;
  2. Attendance of the designated Union representative and the grievant at grievance meetings with the University administrative designee(s) per Article 21, Settlement of Disputes, Sections 2 and 3;
  3. Participation on a joint labor-management committee per Article 3, University Labor Management Committee, Section 4 or 5; Article 27, Safety, Section 4;
  4. Participation on a task force per Memorandums of Understanding (such as, but not limited to, Office Ergonomics Task Force);
  5. Official activities of an officer (per Section 2B) on Union business with the Employer or with the local Union;
  6. Participation of a Union representative in employee orientations offered by the Human Resources Department;
  7. Attendance at Employer initiated investigatory and disciplinary meetings;
  8. Attendance of the designated Union representative and the affected employee at problem solving meetings per Article 21, Section 2;
  9. Participation as the Union Representative at an employee's interview regarding the scoring of the employee's JEQ, per Article 9, Section 3.

Except for time to provide representation in emergency disciplinary actions, time off for Union business must be scheduled and approved by supervisors in advance.

In no event, except for a Steward’s presentation of grievances in meetings with the University administrative designee(s) during working hours, shall any Union Activist's (Steward, or officer or committee member's) paid time off for Union business (per Section 1 A, C, D, E, F, G, H and I above) exceed eight (8) hours per month.

If the performance of Union business as provided in this Section is on non-work time, the Activist shall not be paid. If the performance of Union business as provided in this Section, and including the presentation of grievances, is during the employee's normal work day or week, those hours shall be counted as work time.

On a quarterly basis, the Union must provide to the appropriate Human Resources Department the name of each Union activist, the Department in which s/he is employed, and the Units that s/he represents or the official Union business involvement expected.

Section 2. Union Activities

A. Problem-Solving and Grievance Presentation.

It is recognized and accepted by the Union and the Employer that problem-solving efforts and the processing of grievances are limited by the job duties and responsibilities of employees and shall therefore be accomplished during normal working hours only when consistent with such employee duties and responsibilities in accordance with Article 3, University Labor Management Committee and Article 21, Settlement of Disputes.

The aggrieved employee and a Steward shall be allowed a reasonable amount of time without loss of pay for the presentation of a formal grievance to the University, and for problem solving subject to the terms of Article 21. The presentations may be during normal work hours provided that the employee and the Steward have notified the designated supervisor(s).

B. Officers' Activities.

Up to five (5) Union Officers for technical unit, Local 3937 and up to four (4) Union Officers for Local 3801 whose names have been provided to the Employer on a quarterly list, may be granted up to eight (8) hours of time off with pay in each calendar month to conduct Union business (per Section 1 c, d, e and i above) with advance notice to their supervisors. The Union shall provide a minimum of two (2) days notice to the department prior to the use of this time off with pay for Union business, whenever possible.

C. Steward's Activities.

The University acknowledges that the Union Steward is expected to perform such duties as: a) posting Union notices and announcements; b) transmitting communication authorized by the Local Union or its officers to the Employer; c) procuring grievance-related documents from the Employer.

If such activities cannot be accomplished during off-duty time, the designated Union Steward may be allowed reasonable time off with pay with notice to the Steward's supervisor in accordance with the following guideline. Stewards who are responsible for the administration of the Agreement may be granted up to one (1) hour of time off with pay in each calendar month for these activities. The Employer recognizes that procuring grievance related documents may occasionally require additional paid time beyond the one (1) hour per month.

D. Accredited Representatives.

Accredited representatives of AFSCME shall have access to the premises of the Employer at reasonable times during working hours to conduct Union business related to administration of the Agreement, as may be required, after first informing the supervisor of the unit they wish to visit.

E. Union Leave.

In accordance with PELRA, a Union officer shall be granted leave without pay to serve on the negotiating committee for a new contract, to attend an AFSCME council convention, to attend a Council 5 executive board meeting, and to conduct all other Union business of the exclusive representative. The employee may elect to use accumulated vacation time or accumulated compensatory time as scheduled with his/her supervisor in advance. Any Union leave one (1) day or less in duration, shall be requested as soon as possible. Any Union leave in excess of one (1) day shall be requested in writing at least fourteen (14) calendar days in advance of the effective date.

Section 3. Local Union Meetings

The Employer agrees that Union members may attend the regular monthly Local Union meeting during working hours on leave without pay, after notifying the employee's immediate supervisor at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance. The Employer may limit the number of employees who may be gone from the work location at one time. The employee may elect to use accumulated vacation time or accumulated compensatory time as scheduled and approved by his/her supervisor in advance.

Section 4. Bulletin Boards

In accordance with the policy of each University building, the Union shall be granted posting rights for Union meeting notices and other official Union publications on specifically designated Department bulletin boards at mutually agreeable locations. Space shall be designated on those bulletin boards which will be exclusively for Union materials.

Section 5. Unpaid Leave Provisions.

While Union officers, stewards, or committee members are using unpaid leave for the purpose of contract negotiations, as well as conducting Union business as referenced in Section 1, paragraph 1 of this Article, the employees will continue to accrue vacation and sick leave as though working their normal appointment, have their anniversary dates for progression increases and vacation accrual advancement unaffected, and be considered in pay status on the days before and after holidays.

Section 6. Office Space

At the Duluth and Twin Cities campuses, the Employer agrees to provide office space, if available, for AFSCME Local 3801 and 3937. If office space is available, the Employer agrees to provide it to the Local Unions at the customary rental rate.