Right-to-work group joins argument over college professors

Michael P. Tremoglie Jul. 13, 2012, 7:00am


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has filed an amicus brief with the National Labor Relations Board asking it to follow U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

That precedent, the NRTW says, disallows union officials from compelling university professors into joining a union. NRTW filed the brief with the NLRB in a case involving Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh/Communications Workers of America Local 38061 and professors at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. The union is attempting to organize the professors.

According to the NRTW, universities do not fit the industrial model of the National Labor Relations Act -the federal law governing private-sector labor relations for non-managerial workers. The U.S. Supreme Court said this in NLRB v. Yeshiva University (1980) when it reasoned that faculty members are endowed with "managerial status" at most universities and removed them from the scope of the NLRA.

Previously in the Park Point University case, the NLRB ignored the U.S. Supreme Court precedent and approved the unionization of the university's professors, the NRTW says. Point Park University has refused to accept the Local 38061 as the professors' monopoly bargaining agent, and the case is now pending before the Board again.

The NRTW also argues that allowing union officials to have bargaining power over all Point Park University professors would violate the freedom of speech rights of dissenting facility members, thereby undermining academic freedom.

"Local 38061 officials' strong-handed attempt to corral college professors into unwanted union affiliation and force them to pay dues for unwanted union 'representation' can only be explained as that the union bosses see the Board's current makeup favorable to forced unionism," stated NRTW President Mark Mix.

"If they succeed, university professors nationwide could be susceptible to unwanted unionization and dues payments and forced to subsidize union boss political activity that runs contrary to universities' and professors' values."

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