Duquesne adjuncts vote to unionize |

Duquesne adjuncts vote to unionize

Deb Erdley

Duquesne University adjunct instructors on Thursday won a vote to organize as a collective bargaining unit known as the Adjunct Faculty Association of the United Steelworkers.

Although a preliminary ballot count conducted on Thursday showed the university’s part-time faculty winning the vote 50-9, Duquesne officials vowed to contest the group’s right to unionize and noted that 29 of the 88 instructors eligible to join the unit did not vote.

“We will be following the appeals process,” said Duquesne spokeswoman Bridget Fare.

The part-time instructors, who make up about 60 percent of the faculty in Duquesne’s McAnulty College, announced in the spring their intent to try organizing. The group, which works under semester-by-semester contracts, is seeking access to health care and improved working conditions and wages.

Although Duquesne initially agreed to abide by the results of a union election, the university later appealed to the National Labor Relations Board, saying its status as a religious institution should exempt it from NLRB oversight. Ballots were impounded until Sept. 14 when the NLRB ordered a count, stipulating that Duquesne could renew its appeal if the adjuncts won their election.

Even so, adjuncts said they are buoyed by the election results.

“We’re already certified by the federal government and justified by Catholic social teachings, so we intend to start immediately acting to improve our working conditions. We are hopeful that Duquesne’s administration will see this as a sign that immediately negotiating in good faith is the most prudent course of action,” adjunct instructor Robin Sowards said.

“At this point, we believe Duquesne has a legal duty to bargain with the USW as the collective-bargaining agent of the adjuncts,” said USW General Counsel Dan Kovalik, adding the union is disappointed with the university’s reaction.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.