Thursday, July 19, 2012

News from Chicago: #NLRB rules for @P_fac

Part-time Faculty Association of Columbia College
Part-time Faculty Association of Columbia College Announcement

Federal Government Rules in Favor of P-fac
CHICAGO -- The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling Tuesday, July 17th, against Columbia College Chicago as a result of unfair labor practice charges brought against the college by the faculty union, Part-time Faculty Association at Columbia College ("P-fac").  

The decision, issued by Administrative Law Judge Robert Ringler, finds that Columbia College violated the National Labor Relations Act and orders the college to cease refusing to bargain with the union; cease interfering with employees in the exercise of protected union activities; and cease refusing to produce necessary information requested by the union.  It further orders Columbia College to bargain in good faith with the union; produce information requested by the union almost two years ago; and to pay harmed union members back pay, with interest.  
Trial on these charges was conducted in Chicago from Feb. 6 through Feb. 8, 2012.  Judge Ringler presided throughout the three-day trial and based his decision "on the entire record, including [his] observation of the demeanor of the witnesses...." Judge Ringler stated, in part, "To remedy the College's unlawful failure to bargain in good faith with the shall be ordered to bargain with the Union....  Meaningful bargaining cannot be assured until some measure of economic strength is restored to the Union; a bargaining order alone, therefore, cannot serve as an adequate remedy for the unfair labor practices committed."  See NLRB Decision, pp. 17-18.  In his recommended Order, Judge Ringler added back pay to the remedy.  
This decision immediately impacts all P-fac members as the union attempts to resume contract negotiations with Columbia College.  The NLRB emphasized the scope of harm to the bargaining unit resulting from the college's failure to bargain in good faith and added limited financial restitution to unit members.  Pfac is continuing to seek both legal and contractual remedies for all members, and we hope that the college will avoid further delay and expanse and immediately resume good faith contract negotiations.  
P-fac President Diana Vallera commented, "The judge's decision is a tremendous victory for part-time faculty.  The judge in this case recognized the severity of the situation and ruled that Pfac's charges were not 'garden variety gripes' as labeled by college outside counsel during the trial.  In this case, Judge Ringler has ruled that Columbia College not only mistreated its faculty but also violated federal labor law."
The union has since filed additional unfair labor practice charges against Columbia College that are currently under investigation by the National Labor Relations Board.
We are happy to report that the college has agreed to return to the bargaining table, which P-fac has been requesting for over eight months.  Thank you for your support and encouragement.  This ruling validates our efforts on behalf of our members.  Your commitment to teaching underlies our commitment to strengthening the Part-time Faculty Association.  Congratulations to all members on this legal decision and to the team who successfully conducted this lengthy and complicated trial.  
Part-time Faculty Association Steering Committee

Part-time Faculty Association of Columbia College | 6oo S Michigan Ave rm 811G | Chicago | IL | 60605

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