SLU union meeting June 15, 2023

We began by sharing ideas for creating a safe and respectful meeting space, with coworkers highlighting that it can be difficult to feel safe when supervisors are in the same union. Zara and Laura invited people to help develop community agreements for us. If you are interested in working on that, email Zara at or Laura at

The second item on the agenda was review of the labor-management process. Twice a semester, we meet as workers with SLU management to discuss workplace concerns. Coworkers recalled some wins through the LM process, such as the health and safety walk throughs. The notes from the last LM meeting are here. All union members are invited to attend LM meetings and build our worker power at SLU. We also mentioned the complicated structure of our union, e.g. that SLU is in the Grad Center chapter but HEO coworkers are in their own cross-campus chapter. People wanted to understand all this better.

Speaking of worker power, this summer will feature a series of contract workshops at SLU. In these lunchtime sessions, we will focus on different parts of our contract, to better understand our rights as workers and create effective collective strategies. The first one is on Thursday, June 22 1-2pm on zoom, led by the HEO grievance counselor Zee Dempster. Zee will help us understand the grievance process.

Next, we shared new and ongoing concerns. There was excitement for the next semester, as coworkers meet with our wonderful applicants and students. We spoke in detail about structural problems, including lack of clear policies and procedures which leads things to fall through the cracks, with the “fall person” blamed instead of holding everyone accountable and coming to a solution. We also discussed overwork and cuts and how difficult it is for workers to manage and remember everything when they simply have more work than they can handle. Coworkers are getting bad evaluations even as they are going above and beyond with work. It’s a vicious cycle because then it looks like people are not doing their work and should be cut. This is not particular to SLU but a general pattern in workplaces. Coworkers expressed worry about the transition from Blackboard to Brightspace, a new learning management platform, with SLU in the first wave of schools meant to make that transition.

We shared an update on a past worker win that turned out to be not quite there yet. After getting management to promise that SLU workers hired through the Research Foundation would be in the PSC, we learned that a new colleague on an RF line is not, in fact, eligible to join our union. The latest update is that this should be figured out in the next few weeks. We are definitely watching this situation because to have non-unionized workers at a labor school is hypocritical!

We finished off the meeting with an invitation for more shop stewards and celebrating summer Fridays and remote work agreements, both due to our collective work as union members. (Even as coworkers worry that supervisors lack trust that remote work is getting done.)