Manhattan College Adjunct Faculty Union (MCAFU)

Questions and Answers About Day 1
(Wednesday, October 27th) of the Labor Board Hearing
for an overall summary click here

Q. Was there any positive news from today at the Labor Board?
A. Yes. The Union's position has been (and will continue to be) that a democratic election which enfranchises as many adjunct faculty as is practical is the fairest way to determine the question of unionization. Although the College's attorney did initially resist the Union's proposals on voter eligibility (for the election) and teaching requirements (for inclusion in the bargaining unit), we are pleased to report that eventually both sides were able to reach agreements on these issues. They are as follows:   
*Voter eligibility: Adjunct faculty who taught at least one three-credit course in the Spring, 2010 semester or are teaching at least one three-credit course in the current Fall, 2010 semester will be eligible to vote.     
*Bargaining unit inclusion (ie who will have union representation): Ranked adjunct faculty who teach at least one three-credit course will be included. Adjunct faculty who are also fulltime or part-time staff will be included.  (Employees who will NOT be included are: fulltime tenure-track and visiting faculty even when they are teaching overload courses or a  reduced courseload, adjunct faculty teaching courses bearing less than three credits, students who are serving as graduate assistants, lab assistants, or tutors, and non-teaching staff).

Q. Wait, WHY is the College agreeing to who can vote in an election if it refuses to acknowledge that there should BE an election in the first place?
A. Good question. Though we continue to insist that the College is wrong to continue to try and delay and derail its employees' right to vote in an election, we wouldn't have wanted them to refuse to come to ANY agreements today. Part of the reason for today's agreements has to do with Labor Board procedures. In a hearing, the Labor Board (understandably) wants to see as many issues as possible worked out between the parties - eventually that will leave fewer issues that both sides need to address in legal briefs. The fewer outstanding issues there are at the end of the hearing, the shorter the legal briefs will be, and the more expediently the Board will be able to make its determinations. We want the same thing as the Labor Board. Ideally, we'd like to work out ALL the issues so that no briefs are required, the Labor Board does not need to make any determinations at all, and so that adjunct faculty can vote as soon as possible. The real question then isn't why the College agreed to the eligibility for an election, the real question is why WON'T the College agree to an election?

Q. Okay, why WON'T the College agree to an election?
A. The College's attorney claims that a union would threaten Manhattan College's mission and Catholic heritage. Today she said the College does not believe that the Labor Board has jurisdiction over Manhattan College because it is a Lasallian Catholic college and she cited some previous Labor Board decisions and a  DC Circuit Court decision about other colleges as legal precedents. The legal problem with that argument is that over ten years ago the Labor Board already considered how those cases related to Manhattan College - and it ruled that Manhattan College WAS subject to its jurisdiction. The DC Circuit Court decision the attorney cited is generally considered bad case law and, since it is neither a Labor Board case nor a Supreme Court case, it is irrelevant to these proceedings. Ms. Kehl knows that. But again, this is about delay pure and simple. And we believe the delay (and the attempt to derail the election altogether) is because the College (like most employers) prefers being able to make all the decisions about their employees' jobs. The Administration knows it cedes its control to do that when its employees have a voice through a union. So it appears the College's Administration is doing whatever it can to try and prevent adjunct faculty from voting to on the question of unionization.

Q. Why is the next hearing date not until November 4th? I thought the hearing was supposed to start last week.
A. It was. Although the College's attorney initially asked for the hearing to be postponed from its scheduled October 15th start date to October 21st, she continued to steadfastly insist that the Labor Board grant a further extension to November 5th. Unfortunately, many management attorneys whose requests (even unreasonable ones) are rejected by the Labor Board wind up appealing the eventual Labor Board determinations on the grounds that they did not have proper time to prepare for the hearing. That might be the reason the Labor Board compromised and permitted the hearing to begin today instead of last week as well as permitted another delay of the second day of the hearing until Thursday, November 4th. Today Ms. Kehl did say that she intends to be ready to begin presenting the College's case on November 4th and she will make herself and her witnesses available on every subsequent working day until the hearing is concluded. We hope she keeps her word.

Q. I just heard about this. Where can I find out more information?

A. You can speak to any Organizing Committee member. You can call the office at 212-989-3470 or email us at You can see archived information about the organizing campaign and the union at

Q. Can I attend the Labor Board hearing?

A. Yes. It's open to the public and we encourage you to come. Contact us for times and directions.

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Manhattan College Adjunct Faculty Union / NYSUT / AFT / NEA / AFL-CIO
339 Lafayette Street, Room 202, New York, NY 10012
phone: 212-989-3470; fax: 212-989-8154