A local National Labor Relations Board office decided this week that adjuncts at Saint Xavier University may count their union election votes. The count was halted four years ago after the Roman Catholic University opposed the National Education Association-affiliated union drive, saying its religious identity put it outside the board’s jurisdiction. The university’s appeal was pending before the NLRB for some time, but earlier this year the national board sent back several similar adjunct union cases to their local board offices for further consideration in light of the recent Pacific Lutheran University decision.
In that case, the national board determined that Pacific Lutheran adjuncts could form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union, since their duties were not of a religious nature. The landmark decision also included new guidelines for evaluating such cases, and those guidelines were used to evaluate the Saint Xavier case anew. A spokeswoman for the university said it has two weeks to appeal, and that it is reviewing its options. Charlie McBarron, a spokesman for the Illinois Education Association, told the Chicago Sun-Times that the union believes the “desires of the voters should be known.”
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