The National Labor Relation Board ruled that part-time faculty at Manhattan College are allowed to unionize. The ruling’s implications mean more than potentially higher costs, because the underlying reason for the ruling stated that the college isn’t religious enough to qualify for a labor law exemption. Manhattan is repealing the ruling, arguing that it’s an infringement of religious freedom.
The Council of Independent Colleges reports that one in four teachers at member colleges have adjunct status. Hiring adjunct professors gives colleges flexibility in their course offerings and helps to keep costs down. Of course, these part-time professors do not enjoy the same benefits as their tenured colleagues.
The board ruled that unless a college’s primary purpose is to propagate a religious faith, it may must conform to secular labor laws. This poses a problem for traditionally religious colleges that now wish to offer students of all faiths an open environment without requiring religious courses.
“The ruling suggests that the regional NLRB believes that the primary hallmarks of an authentic Catholic college or university are exclusionary hiring, a proselytizing atmosphere, and dogmatic inflexibility in the curriculum,” wrote the college’s President Brennan O’Donnell in an open letter.
Via USA Today.
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