MSCF settles lawsuit with Minnesota State over unpaid wages 


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Chris Williams
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Matt Williams
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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. May 22, 2019 – The union of faculty members in the state’s two-year colleges has settled a long-running lawsuit with the Minnesota State system that will send up to $1.9 million in back pay to faculty members. 

“We filed this lawsuit to compel Minnesota State to pay its faculty fairly and fully for their work,” said Kevin Lindstrom, president of the Minnesota State College Faculty union. “The process took longer than we had hoped, but we’re happy with the result.” 

The settlement agreement creates a process for members of the faculty to recover back pay for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years. The settlement also mandates that the system make certain changes to insure that it correctly compensates its faculty in the future. 

Under terms of the agreement, faculty members must file a claim for back pay by Oct. 31, 2019.  A referee selected by both parties will review any disputed claims. 

The settlement caps the systems’ liability for approved claims at $1.9 million. If the total value of the claims exceed that amount, the individual awards will be proportionally adjusted downward to fit under the cap. 

The dispute involves how the system calculated the pay for faculty members with certain job assignments, such as teaching in flex labs, independent studies and internships, or instructors who performed duties as department chairs and in similar jobs. The union estimates the settlement will directly affect between 180 and 700 instructors. 

“Our union leaders expect to meet personally with hundreds of faculty members this year and will work with them to ensure they are paid accurately for the work they have done,” said Matt Williams, president-elect of the MSCF. “We remain committed to fair compensation for the great work of our membership.” 

The union began filing grievances for the pay calculations in 2010, asserting that Minnesota State was not following the contract the two sides had negotiated together. In 2016, the union took the grievances to binding arbitration. The arbitrator ruled for the union.  

In December 2017, the union filed an unfair labor practices lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court alleging Minnesota State violated the law by refusing to comply with the arbitrator’s decision. The settlement signed May 22 resolves that lawsuit. 

The Minnesota State College Faculty union is affiliated with Education Minnesota.