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Labor Rights For Adjunct Faculty Trump Religion at Catholic College

by G. Jeffrey MacDonald, USA Today

.    The National Labor Relations Board also isn’t convinced that, Manhattan College, a Catholic school is actually Catholic.

According to Elbert Tellem, the NLRB’s acting regional director, Manhattan College can’t prohibit adjunct faculty from unionizing because the school’s core purpose isn’t religious enough to trigger a labor law exemption.

Claiming an infringement of religious liberty, the school is appealing the decision. Observers say the case could have broad implications well beyond the picturesque campus at the northern tip of the Bronx.

Religious colleges, like their secular counterparts, increasingly rely on adjunct faculty in a bid to contain payroll costs, according to the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). Nearly one in every four teachers at CIC schools has adjunct status, and a wave of unionization could drive up education costs as adjuncts demand higher pay and benefits.

“All colleges … who are trying to figure out a way to make college affordable for students are going to be watching how this develops,” said Michael Galligan-Stierle, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. “Adjuncts are part of the equation.”  read more:


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