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Montana State University professors vote whether union will stay

By Eric Turcio, Reporter, eturcio@ktvm.com
Published On: Mar 27 2013 09:32:25 PM MDT
Updated On: Mar 27 2013 10:22:45 PM MDT
MontanasState University professors vote whether union will stay
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Voting starts this week to see if tenured and tenure track MSU professors want to keep their union.

The union came to Montana State University four years ago. Some professors reportedly want to keep the union which is meant to advocate for pay, benefits, intellectual property rights as well as tenure. We spoke to some who are not too happy about it.

NBC Montana sat down with physics professor Randy Babbitt who said he is not a union member, but is represented by the union.

"Some professors may leave the University. Some of our top professors may leave because of the union and that would be a shame," said Babbitt.

Babbitt told us some professors are frustrated, saying the union has created communication blocks.

"In the past we've always had open discussions between students, faculty and administrators to solve our problems. Now that the union's here there's been a lot of barriers set up between the administration and faculty that make it a lot more difficult," explained Babbitt.

Babbitt argues that could hurt education.

"I think that would highly impact the students," said Babbitt.

Oscar Rodriguez is a junior at MSU and says he would be devastated if a favorite professor left because of union issues.

"It would make me upset because I'm paying money here to go to school and also get a good education. If I'm not able to take a class from a certain professor that I know would do great at it, yes that would upset me a lot," said Rodriguez.  

NBC Montana did talk to some professors who are happy with the union, but they declined to talk on camera. Some supporters say it's given them a stronger voice in negotiations with the school.

The decertification vote would not directly affect the separate AFMSU Union, currently representing 200 adjunct or non-tenured faculty.

The ballots must be turned in by April 16th.