Wednesday, August 5, 2015

New Move in Union-Busting?

Inside Higher Ed
August 5th, 2015

Universities don’t often welcome faculty unions to their campuses with open arms; drives are challenged and appeals ensue, sometimes taking years to settle. But the fight at Duquesne University has been particularly acrimonious. The battle’s lasted three years so far, with public back-and-forth, including the union’s claim that the university turned its back on a long-serving elderly adjunct as she was terminally ill. But now union members are saying the university has hit an unprecedented low in the fight, threatening in a legal brief to fire adjuncts who participated in the unionization process. While experts say the university’s legal move is highly unusual, Duquesne says it’s within its rights to state it may fire those who detract from its religious mission.
“I’ve never seen this before, and I’ve been a labor lawyer now for 22 years,” said Daniel Kovalik, counsel for the United Steelworkers in Pittsburgh, with which the Duquesne adjunct union is affiliated. “This is tantamount to an unfair labor practice written into a [National Labor Relations Board] filing, which is quite amazing and unique.”

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