Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is unionizing

Update – April 30, 2021: The MNC Union announced April 30, 2021 that the union won the vote, writing, “Despite the delays, and the waste of MCN resources on an anti-union attorney, the votes are in and they’ve been counted: we now have a formally certified union!”

Workers at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits announced March 12 they a unionizing with the Minnesota Newspaper & Communications Guild, a local of The NewsGuild-CWA. The announcement came two days after they asked management of the organization to grant voluntary recognition during a biweekly staff meeting.

MCN Executive Director Jon Pratt, has not yet voluntarily recognized the union.

Employees have been organizing the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Union since the end of 2019, as frustration grew when policy changes, decisions about workload, and new programming were made without the input from staff who are responsible for implementing them, organizers said in a statement.

Workers are asking MCN to increase their commitment towards racial justice, which has been part of MCN’s strategic plan for years.

“It can be overwhelming for staff of color to endure the tepid gestures toward racial equity when we need bold and unapologetic efforts,” said Ileana Mejia, an MCN public policy advocate. “Through a union, I will be able to bring my full self and voice and articulate the needs we as workers of color have and actually move forward on concrete issues that affect us.”

MCN provides some benefits for staff, but workers believe more can be done to improve their working conditions, especially regarding issues of racial justice in the nonprofit sector. They are working to establish a model of collective decision making that ensures the value of each worker’s time and labor is respected and justly compensated, and that invests in employee professional growth and satisfaction in the workplace.

“As a union what we fight for isn’t just a suggestion. It’s a negotiation; it is real power. It’s the best way to center the most marginal in our workplace and to give them actual power to give management and directors guidance and direction,” said Policy Fellow Abimael Chavez-Hernandez.

MCN was founded in 1987 to address issues facing nonprofits. It is the largest state association of nonprofits in the United States.

Follow Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Union @MCNunion on Twitter.