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August 5, 2015Published Article

Is Pacific Lutheran Standard A Hail Mary For Adjuncts?

Law360

"On June 1, 2015, Peter Sung Ohr, a Chicago regional director for the National Labor Relations Board, issued a decision in Saint Xavier University which applied the NLRB’s new standard set forth in Pacific Lutheran University regarding declining jurisdiction over faculty members at self-identified religious colleges. The revised standard favors unionization and could have a major impact on religious schools. Shortly thereafter, the NLRB's Pittsburg regional director issued a decision in Duquesne University, again applying the new standard.

In Saint Xavier University, the union sought to represent part-time faculty, also known as adjuncts. Saint Xavier argued: (1) that the NLRB lacked jurisdiction because it is a religiously operated institution that is not subject to the National Labor Relations Act according to the NLRB's new standard set forth in Pacific Lutheran; and (2) in the alternative, that certain petitioned-for employees — adjuncts who teach in the department of religious studies, in the Pastoral Ministry Institute, Catholic theology — were exempt under Pacific Lutheran as they were held out as performing a specific religious function."

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