NLRB Approves Adjunct Union Bid at Seattle U.

April 24, 2014

Adjunct professors at Seattle University who hope to organize in affiliation with the Service Employees International Union got the green light from their local National Labor Relations Board. The announcement didn’t come as a surprise to adjuncts there, who said the decision was similar to the board’s regional office ruling last year in favor of adjuncts who wish to form an SEIU-affiliated union at Pacific Lutheran University. Ballots from that subsequent union election have been impounded, however, as the national labor board weighs the university’s challenge to the ruling – namely that its religious affiliation puts it outside board jurisdiction. Michael Ng, an adjunct professor of languages and literature at both institutions, said organizers expect Seattle University to pose a similar challenge to the local board’s decision that a union runs “no significant risk of constitutional infringement” on the institution, which “lacks substantial religious character.” A university spokeswoman referred questions about the decision to previous statements made by Isiaah Crawford, provost, expressing concern about NLRB infringement on its religious identity. The university has until May 1 to appeal the decision. The union would include about 356 non-tenure-track faculty. A union vote date has not yet been announced.

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