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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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NLRB rules against Roman Catholic school

For the second time this year, a federal regulator has ruled against a Roman Catholic college's First Amendment arguments and allowed its adjunct faculty to begin unionizing.

In the latest case, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that St. Xavier University in Chicago had no right to a religious exemption from the board's oversight because "it operates strictly as a secular educational institution."

A separate NLRB regulator ruled in January that Roman Catholic-run Manhattan College, Riverdale, N.Y., could not prevent its adjunct professors from organizing. Those rulings are expected to land in the courts, where Roman Catholic schools have previously won arguments that they are exempt from NLRB jurisdiction.

Jon Fuller, a senior fellow at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said he knows of no Lutheran-affiliated colleges or universities involved in such controversies. "Unions are looking at big cities where they believe a large group of faculty is a prime prospecting area," said Fuller, who follows the issue.


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