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Federal Government Issues Ruling in Favor of Faculty Union

Federal Government Issues Ruling in Favor of Faculty Union For immediate release July 18, 2012

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 (“Pfac”).

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 Union…it 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.

Prosecuting the case for the NLRB was attorney Daniel E. Murphy, for the Acting General Counsel. Attorney Lisa A. McGarrity represented Respondent Columbia College at the trial. Attorney Laurie M. Burgess represented the Charging Party, Part-Time Faculty Association at Columbia College, affiliated with IEA/NEA.

Pfac 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.

Media contact: Diana Vallera, President Part-Time Faculty Association at Columbia College Chicago

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