| We hope all of you have already heard the exciting news that support for an adjunct faculty union at Manhattanville has been so strong that last week we were able to bring all the yellow authorization cards to the Labor Board along with the requisite paperwork asking the Labor Board to conduct a union elecion for the College's adjunct faculty. If you somehow missed that news, you can read the information from last week HERE .
On Monday we participated in a phone conference and several more informal phone conversations with Maria Belonis (the Labor Board agent assigned to the case) and with Thomas McDonough, the attorney from the Jackson Lewis law firm that the College has retained to represent it in this matter. The Union's interest is always in holding elections as quickly as possible and in holding the election in such a way that voting is as easy as possible for (in this case) busy adjunct faculty.
Our position is that the election should be held during the January intersession and that the Labor Board should send adjunct faculty ballots to their home addresses along with a postage paid return envelope. In the past few years, the Labor Board has held union elections in exactly this way for adjunct faculty at St. Francis College, Cooper Union, and Marymount Manhattan College. All those elections had high voter turnouts as it was much easier for adjunct faculty to participate in a mail ballot election than in an election held on campus.
Unfortunately we were unable to come to an agreement with the College's attorney on this matter. Mr. McDonough said the College prefers to have on onsite election. Mr. McDonough also said that holding voting from 4pm-7pm on a consecutive Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in mid to late February would be a convenient time for almost all adjunct faculty. Finally, Mr. McDonough proposed that the vote also be open to any adjunct faculty newly hired in the Spring, 2011 semester, a possibility which concerns us as this might give the College some incentive to "screen" potential adjunct applicants in terms of their views on unionization.
So, like we said, we couldn't agree to such terms which would run the risk of disenfranchising large numbers of adjunct faculty and would make all of you wait what seems like an excessively long time until an election. So now we will go to a hearing at the Labor Board. Ms. Belonis had originally scheduled the hearing for today, but Mr. McDonough asked the Labor Board for an extension until next Tuesday which was granted. At the hearing both sides will present our arguments for our respective positions about the election parameters and then after the conclusion of the hearing, both sides will submit legal briefs supporting their positions. Ms. Belonis will preside over the hearing (similar to how a judge presides over a court case) and the Regional Director of the Labor Board will issue a decision about the election after reviewing the hearing testimony and reading the legal briefs. Again, though we would certainly prefer to reach an agreement with Mr. McDonough rather than have to go to a hearing (even a short hearing), our most important priority is to do everything we can to assure that Manhattanville adjunct faculty get an opportunity to vote in the most timely and fair election possible.
We will certainly keep you informed about updates as we have them.
Questions? Concerns? Are you interested in joining the Steering Committee for the Union of Adjunct Faculty at Manhattanville? Please email us back or call the Union office at 212-989-3470
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Union of Adjunct Faculty and Tutors at Manhattanville / NYSUT / AFT / NEA / AFL-CIO