NLRB orders Columbia College to resume bargaining with union
BY JAMES SCALZITTI Staff Reporter July 18, 2012 7:10PM
Updated: July 19, 2012 5:00PM
A federal judge ruled Tuesday ruled that Columbia College Chicago engaged in unfair labor practices in dealing with the union representing its part-time faculty and ordered it to resume bargaining.
Administrative Law Judge Robert Ringler found that the South Loop college violated the National Labor Relations Act and ordered the college to stop refusing to bargain with the union and stop interfering with employees taking part in union activities.
The judge ordered Columbia to bargain in good faith and also ordered it to provide information requested almost two years ago and pay affected union members back pay with interest.
The college will also have to publicly post notices that the National Labor Relations Board “has found that we violated Federal labor law and has ordered us to post and obey this notice,” informing staff that they have the right to “form, join, or assist a union.”
“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. This ruling validates our efforts on behalf of our members,” a statement from the Part-time Faculty Association at Columbia said.
Judge Ringler presided over a three-day trial in Chicago in February after the union filed a complaint in February 2011 with the Illinois Education Association/National Education Association.
The original complaint was over class schedule reductions for adjunct faculty.
The decision immediately impacts all P-Fac members as the union attempts to resume contract negotiations, the union statement said. “... we hope that the college will avoid further delay and expanse, and immediately resume good faith contract negotiations.”
“The judge’s decision is a tremendous victory for part-time faculty,” P-Fac President Diana Vallera said in the statement. “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 that are under investigation by the NLRB, the union said.
A Columbia College Chicago spokesman said he had not read the ruling and could not immediately comment.