Columbia College Chicago Violated Rights of Adjuncts' Union, Labor-Relations Board Says

July 18, 2012

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Columbia College Chicago violated federal labor-relations law in its dealings with the union that represents its part-time instructors.

In a decision handed down on Tuesday, Robert A. Ringler, an administrative-law judge for the federal board, held that the private college had violated provisions of the law by refusing to bargain with its Part-Time Faculty Association in good faith and by withholding from the union information it was obliged to provide.

He ordered it to cease such violations and undo changes it had made in the workloads of many part-timers without the consent of the union, which is affiliated with the National Education Association.

The dispute at issue in the ruling stemmed from the college's November 2010 decision to change the scheduling for part-timers in its history, humanity, and social-sciences department, effective in the spring-2011 semester. Under the scheduling change, the maximum number of classes assigned to the department's part-time instructors was reduced from three to two.

Judge Ringler's decision requires the college to pay part-time faculty members affected by the change what they would have made for teaching a third course.

Diana Vallera, the union's president, on Wednesday called the judge's decision "a tremendous victory for part-time faculty" that "recognized the severity of the situation" for them.