The Chronicle of Higher Education
December 20th, 2014
The National Labor Relations Board has handed contingent faculty
members at Pacific Lutheran University a major win in their bid to form a
labor union, rejecting the university’s assertion that, as a religious
institution, it is exempt from the NLRB’s jurisdiction.
The board’s decision
is also significant because it refines the NLRB’s standard that is used
to determine whether certain faculty members can be considered
managerial employees and therefore denied union representation.
That question was at the heart of a landmark 1980 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, National Labor Relations Board v. Yeshiva University (444 U.S. 672), which has since essentially barred full-time faculty members at private colleges from forming unions.
A regional official of the NLRB ruled last year
that adjuncts at Pacific Lutheran could move to unionize. The full
labor board later agreed to review the case, and in February, it solicited input on both of the questions that were central to the dispute.