ERIC Number: EJ1051847
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jan-8
Reference Count: N/A
Key NLRB Decision Opens a Wide Door for Faculty Organizing
Ambash, Joseph W.
New England Journal of Higher Education, Jan 2015
In its stunning and far-reaching decision in the "Pacific Lutheran University" case (12/16/14), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) opened the door to union organizing among faculty at thousands of private-sector institutions, both secular and religious. The question before the NLRB was whether a local of the Service Employees International Union could represent a unit of nontenure-eligible contingent faculty members employed by the university in Tacoma, Washington. Pacific Lutheran University argued that, as a church-operated institution, it was exempt from NLRB jurisdiction and that its full-time contingent faculty were managerial employees excluded from representation under the Supreme Court's 1980 decision in "Yeshiva University." In reviewing the decision of its regional director, the NLRB took the opportunity to solicit "amicus briefs" about the broad issues of jurisdiction over all religious institutions and the proper analysis of managerial status of all faculty at private higher education institutions. In its decision, the board articulated new, more stringent, standards that will make it difficult for religious institutions to claim exemption from the National Labor Relations Act and for all private institutions to claim that their faculty are exempt from union organizing. It held that the contingent faculty in question were entitled to organize. The board's majority decision, issued in the face of powerful dissents, will inevitably spark controversy and ongoing litigation both about the legality of NLRB intrusion into the operation of religious institutions and the proper interpretation of the "managerial" status of faculty under the U.S. Supreme Court's historic "Yeshiva University" decision. The details of the board's new ruling and its impact on private-sector institutions and their vulnerability to union organizing are discussed herein.
Descriptors: Unions, Union Members, Teachers, Activism, Collective Bargaining, Labor Relations, Private Sector, College Faculty, Church Related Colleges, Labor Legislation, Court Litigation
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.nebhe.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: National Labor Relations Board v Yeshiva University