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3 Catholic colleges appeal rulings on adjunct faculty unionization

August 14, 2013

Three Catholic colleges--Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Manhattan College in New York, and St. Xavier College in Chicago--have appealed rulings from the National Labor Relations Board permitting adjunct faculty to form unions, according to a Catholic News Service report.

Adjunct faculty teach the majority of classes at the three colleges; they typically receive no benefits and earn one third of the salary of tenured faculty.

In their appeals, the colleges have cited First Amendment concerns.

“Catholic social teaching is quite explicit about the importance of labor unions,” said Robin Sowards, an adjunct faculty member at Duquesne University. “To say that as a Catholic university you’re too Catholic for the government, but not Catholic enough to follow your own teachings, is profoundly hypocritical.”

“This is not about religion,” he added. “It’s about preventing the most poorly paid employees to be represented by a union.”

Without opposition from university administration, Georgetown University’s adjunct faculty recently voted to form a union.


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  • Posted by: Defender - Aug. 15, 2013 2:03 PM ET USA

    Adjunct professors do most of the teaching, no benefits and 1/3 the salary...seems par for the course for Catholic schools, it seems.

  • Posted by: djpeterson - Aug. 15, 2013 1:55 PM ET USA

    This is regrettable, it looks like these Catholic Colleges must be getting advice from the Republican National Committee.

  • Posted by: unum - Aug. 15, 2013 7:39 AM ET USA

    "Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words." The actions of these colleges are not preaching the gospel.

  • Posted by: Alcuin - Aug. 14, 2013 12:18 PM ET USA

    Yet more 'Catholic' colleges not acting very Catholic at all. The bad days are not yet behind us.