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Duquesne U. Appeals Adjuncts Unionization Vote

Duquesne University adjunct faculty members may have to wait longer to hear results of their vote on whether to unionize and affiliate with the United Steelworkers, pending action on an appeal by the university that could invalidate the whole process.

The regional office of the National Labor Relations Board is scheduled to tally the adjuncts’ mail ballots. But Robert Chester, director of the Pittsburgh office of the NLRB, said the ballots likely will be impounded pending a decision on Duquesne’s appeal to be exempted from NLRB jurisdiction on grounds of religious freedom.

On May 25, 2012 Duquesne officials agreed to have the agency supervise a union ballot. Three weeks later, they petitioned to withdraw from that agreement, claiming the school is a religious institution and exempt from NLRB oversight.

When the regional office of the NLRB denied that request, Duquesne officials filed an appeal known as a request for review with the national board in Washington. As of late Monday, the federal agency had not acted upon it.

“If we do not hear anything on the request for review, we will impound the ballots” and wait for a decision on the appeal, Chester said.

Despite the appeal, the agency

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