NLRB Ruling on the Efforts of the Adjunct and Full-Time Contingent Faculty at Pacific Lutheran University to Organize a Collective Bargaining Unit

ACADEME BLOG

Pacific Lutheran University argued that SEIU should be prevented from organizing a collective bargaining unit for adjunct faculty at the institution for two reasons: the faculty promote the religious mission of the university and the faculty have managerial rights as described in the “Yeshiva” decision. On both counts, the NLRB (with one member providing a dissenting opinion) found that the university had made an insufficient case.

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On the “religious exemption,” the NLRB has concluded:

“We find, for the following reasons, that although PLU meets the threshold requirement of holding itself out as creating a religious educational environment, it does not hold out the petitioned-for contingent faculty members as performing a religious function in support of that environment. Accordingly, we will assert jurisdiction over the petitioned-for faculty members.

“PLU’s public representations generally emphasize a commitment to academic freedom, its acceptance of other faiths and its explicit de-emphasis of any specific…

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