Loyola/SEIU Hearing Concludes
December 8, 2015
I want to update you on the status of SEIU Local 73’s attempt to organize our part-time faculty and our full-time non-tenure-track faculty. As I mentioned in my last update, the process moved forward recently with a hearing at the Chicago office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The hearing began on Wednesday, December 2, continued on Friday, December 4, and concluded yesterday, Monday, December 7. Throughout the three-day hearing, both Loyola and the Union presented testimony and documents in support of our respective cases.
At this point, the case is in the hands of the NLRB regional office in Chicago, which will decide two issues: (1) whether the NLRB has jurisdiction over Loyola; and (2) if the NLRB does have jurisdiction over Loyola, what is the appropriate voting (or bargaining) unit for an election.
At the hearing, the University argued that we, as a Jesuit, Catholic university, have the right to define our own mission and govern our institution in accordance with our values and beliefs, free from government entanglement. By raising the jurisdictional issue, we are simply seeking to maintain our right to religious freedom, and our position on this issue is not different from the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, both of which have filed support positions in NLRB cases similar to ours. We are aware that the NLRB will likely not agree with our position, however, we felt that it was important to publicly take a position related to government interference with delivering our Jesuit and Catholic education.
With respect to the appropriate voting unit conversation, Loyola and the Union took different positions. The Union originally sought to represent a portion of our full-time non-tenure-track and part-time graduate and undergraduate faculty (Adjuncts, Adjunct Professors, Adjunct Instructors, Adjunct Lecturers, Accompanists, Instructors, Lecturers, Lab Instructors, Senior Lecturers, and Visiting Faculty) who are working in some of the academic programs that are housed at our Lake Shore Campus, including the College of Arts and Sciences, the English Language Learning Program, and The Graduate School. At the hearing, the Union changed its position and stated that it wanted to represent a limited unit that included all full-time non-tenure-track and part-time faculty who are teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences, including those who may be teaching classes at the Water Tower Campus. The Union also stated that it would no longer seek to represent faculty members in the English Language Learning Program, The Graduate School, or Visiting Faculty.
We view the unit issue differently. First, we believe there are significant differences in the terms and conditions of employment for part-time faculty and full-time non-tenure-track faculty and that none of the latter should be included in a unit with part-time faculty. Our position is based on our interpretation of NLRB case law, which requires that employees in the same voting unit share common terms and conditions of employment. Second, we believe that a unit of part-time faculty should not be limited to the College of Arts and Sciences. Our position is that part-time faculty across the entire University, except the Stritch School of Medicine (which both parties agreed is excluded), should be able to participate in the vote. In our view, this is an issue of fairness and inclusion that will impact all part-time faculty. All part-time faculty work under the same terms and conditions of employment, and we see no principled reason to carve out a small group from among a larger group that is employed under the same terms and conditions of employment.
We expect the NLRB regional office to issue its decision shortly and we will provide an update as soon as we have one.
In the meantime, we thank you for your interest in this important issue. Please continue to visit our website (LUC.edu/seiupetition) for information on SEIU Local 73, union organizing, and the collective bargaining process.
Thomas M. Kelly
Senior Vice President for Administrative Services