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ACE, Higher Ed Groups Support Pacific Lutheran in Faculty Unionization Case

March 31, 2014

Chairs in a room


ACE and six higher education associations submitted an amicus brief​ to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Friday in support of Pacific Lutheran University in a case dealing with the unionization of full-time, non-tenure-track instructors. 

In the brief, filed in the case Pacific Lutheran University v. Service Employees International Union, the groups urged the NLRB to adhere to the landmark 1980 U.S. Supreme Court decision in National Labor Relations Board v. Yeshiva University, which held that private college faculty members play a substantial role in managing their institution—especially because of their control over the curriculum and course selection—and therefore are ineligible for the collective bargaining rights available to other college employees. (States determine whether public college and university faculty members may unionize.)

The private, Washington state-based Pacific Lutheran is asking the NLRB to overturn a regional director’s decision that its full-time, non-tenure-track faculty members—who have full voting rights in the faculty assembly—do not possess enough managerial authority to be precluded from unionizing under Yeshiva. 

NLRB raised many of the same questions in 2012 in a similar case involving the unionization of faculty members at Pennsylvania’s Point Park University​. As in the Pacific Lutheran case, the regional director and the Board originally determined that the Point Park’s faculty members did not fall within the exclusion for managerial employees. That determination was reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and remanded to the NLRB. 

ACE also filed a brief​​​​​​​ in the Point Park case, which is still pending. 

Joining ACE in the Pacific Lutheran brief were the Association of American Universities, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, the Council of Independent Colleges, the Independent Colleges of Washington, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

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