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Catholic university not exempt from federal labor regulations, board rules

June 21, 2012

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that Duquesne University, a Catholic institution in Pittsburgh, must accept NLRB rulings on personnel matters. The ruling—which Duquesne is likely to appeal—comes despite federal court decisions that have exempted religious institutions from NLRB jurisdiction.

Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society notes that many Catholic institutions of higher education have jeopardized their own status by compromising their Catholic identity. Writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he notes:

The NLRB’s position rests on the assertion that many Catholic colleges and universities today are so weak and inconsistent in their religious identity that they are almost secular — and on that, they’re correct.

Nevertheless, the NLRB ruling is a setback for the religious freedom of Catholic institutions, Reilly notes. It is particularly ironic that the board issued its ruling just before the US bishops opened their “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign.


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  • Posted by: bkmajer3729 - Jun. 23, 2012 9:17 AM ET USA

    If the organization (DU) were truly "Catholic", why is there a need for a labor union?

  • Posted by: Defender - Jun. 21, 2012 5:51 PM ET USA

    If the professors had signed a mandatum, perhaps it would strenghten DU's (et al) case for being Catholic. Then again, if one reads what comes out of these pseudo-Catholic schools, there is no defense of the Magisterium. In complete contrast, every pope since Leo XIII has stated that unions are a right and have they fully support this right - nowhere have they limited this right or excepted Catholic institutions from it (from Is There a Future for Catholic Unions in the United States? 1999).