If you walk around Metropolitan State on Wednesday, Jan. 17, you might notice a lot more staff and faculty with shirts or buttons calling out their various bargaining units: Inter Faculty Organization (IFO); Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE); American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 5 (AFSCME Council 5); Middle Management Association (MMA); and Minnesota State University Association of Administrative Service Faculty (MSUAAF). This is done in commemoration of the signing of Executive Order 10988, an important milestone in the struggle for public sector workers to organize collectively to negotiate with public employers.
On Jan. 17, 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10988, “Employee-Management Cooperation in the Federal Sector,” giving federal employees, among other things, the right to engage in collective bargaining through labor organizations. This order came to be as a result of the findings of the Task Force on Employee-Management Relations in the Federal Service, which President Kennedy had created on June 22, 1961. Aside from providing federal employees a seat at the table in forming and implementing policies and procedures, the order moved states to adopt similar provisions for state government employees.
In the intervening 50 years, Executive Order 10988 has been expanded on and improved by a succession of presidents, from both parties, culminating in President Jimmy Carter’s signing of Title VII, the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute into law on Oct. 13, 1978. This codified the provisions for collective bargaining rights for federal employees, and created the U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority.
Our university community functions well because of staff and faculty who are represented by bargaining units empowered by Executive Order 10988. Collective bargaining keeps the university professionally competitive, ensuring that capable, qualified individuals are here to meet student needs. On Jan. 17, take a moment to acknowledge the contributions of the union members who make our “university without barriers” a powerful partner in supporting students on their journey of lifelong learning.