Contingent Faculty at Seattle U. Can Vote on Union, NLRB Official Rules

From The Chronicle of Higher Education:

A regional official of the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that contingent faculty members at Seattle University are eligible to vote on forming a union.

In a decision handed down last week, Ronald K. Hooks, the NLRB’s director for the Seattle region, rejected the Roman Catholic university’s argument that it is too religious to fall under the federal labor board’s jurisdiction as a result of contingent faculty members’ drive to form a collective-bargaining unit affiliated with the Service Employees International Union.

He also rejected the university’s argument that the proposed union, which would include both full-time and part-time faculty members employed on a contingent basis, is inappropriately defined because it includes full-time faculty members the university characterized as managers and excludes faculty members teaching in the university’s law and nursing schools.

Mr. Hooks held that none of the employees in the proposed union were managers, partly because they are prohibited under the university Academic Assembly’s bylaws from making up more than a minority of its members, and most work on year-to-year contracts that preclude them from serving three-year terms on faculty committees. The university’s law and nursing schools, he said, are distinct divisions.

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