Montana State University Teachers Leave MEA-MFT Teacher’s Union
In a very close 190 to 185 vote, The tenured faculty at Montana State University have decided they no longer want to be represented by MEA-MFT, Montana’s combined teachers union.
Professor Gary Brester from the Agricultural Economics Department was one of the petitioners in favor of leaving the union. Brester says it was not just a vote about personal finances.
“On a personal basis, these dollars are not that onerous. The bigger frictions come in trying to be flexible in hiring new faculty, in re-doing additional workload documents that really have already been done once. Most universities already move at glacial paces.”
Brester says the union was not able to achieve what many had hoped for and said he personally disliked the limitation that teachers and administration could not discuss items in the negotiated contracts openly.
“When there are certain things that are off-limits because of an outside organization being involved, it makes it very difficult to create new knowledge and to have an environment where we are able to do a great job in the classroom and then advance societal knowledge and creativity,” Brester said. “We tried and we took a shot at it, but it just wasn’t for this particular institution.”
MEA-MFT still represents the non-tenured and adjunct professors at MSU. MEA-MFT president Eric Feaver has been contacted for a response and his statement will be posted here as soon as it becomes available.