NLRB rules in favor of Catholic university workers

NLRB rules in favor of Catholic university workers

On April 10 in a 2-1 decision, the National Labor Relations Board voted to support Catholic university workers in recognizing their right to form unions. In one of the cases with a Chicago connection, the Board ruled that housekeepers at St. Xavier University were eligible to unionize despite protests from the school.

The NLRB essentially rejected the argument from the school stating that their religious affiliation freed them from federal labor oversight.

In a case emanating from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, a group of adjunct faculty in 2012 voted to join the Adjuncts Faculty Association of the United Steelworkers. A regional director for the NLRB found that enough votes were cast in favor of joining the union, but the school resisted, arguing that its Catholic identity meant it was exempt from N.L.R.B. oversight. In the April 10 decision the Board ruled that the faculty taught secular material. It did make a distinction however ruling that theology professors are in a different category and are thus ineligible to join the union, writing that they perform “a specific role in maintaining the University’s religious educational environment.”

For the America magazine report by Michael O’Loughlin, click here.pastedGraphic.png