Manhattan College on Wednesday issued a statement denouncing a ruling Monday by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board that the institution was not religious enough to be exempt from federal laws on collective bargaining. The NLRB ruling -- which Manhattan's statement suggested will be appealed -- gives the go-ahead for adjuncts at Manhattan to unionize, finding that the college's relationship with its employees is essentially secular. Brennan O’Donnell, president of the Roman Catholic college, said in Manhattan's statement that “the analysis clearly and unfortunately demonstrates the NLRB’s lack of understanding of the identity of Manhattan College as a 21st-century Catholic college whose mission requires engagement with the broader culture of American society and higher education. Apparently the union and the government mistake our intellectual openness and welcoming spiritual environment, which we consider to be strengths of the Catholic intellectual tradition, as weaknesses. The ruling suggests that the Regional NLRB believes that the primary hallmarks of an authentic Catholic college or university are exclusionary hiring, a proselytizing atmosphere, and dogmatic inflexibility in the curriculum.” Union groups have praised the NLRB ruling.
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