Labor Board Sets New Tests for Whether Private-College Faculty Members Can Unionize

By Peter Schmidt

The National Labor Relations Board has made it easier for faculty members at religious colleges—and private colleges as a whole—to unionize.

In a 3-to-2 decision last week involving contingent faculty members at Pacific Lutheran University, the board laid out new standards for deciding two of the most-divisive questions in academic-labor law: whether a college’s religious nature should exempt it from NLRB jurisdiction, and whether faculty members have too much involvement in the management of their colleges to be considered as employees eligible for union representation.

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