Columbia College adjuncts claim a victory at the NLRB | Bleader

Columbia College adjuncts claim a victory at the NLRB



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In the 2010-2011 school year, some Columbia College adjunct faculty took a sudden hit to their pocketbook when the school slapped a cap on the number of courses they could teach in any semester. For most of them, the change meant a loss of one third to one half of their pay.

Last week, their union, P-fac, celebrated a ruling (which you can read here) from the National Labor Relations Board that will force the college to pay those in the History, Humanities, and Social Sciences Department for some of what they lost in the spring term of 2011, plus interest that could keep accruing until the college and the union come to agreement about how to deal with the impact of the change.

This "back pay" could be as much as adjuncts would have earned for teaching a full, 15-week, three-credit course, or as little as what they would have made for just two weeks of the course. P-fac estimates that 18 adjuncts will qualify for payment, and says average pay for 15 weeks would be about $5,000.

P-fac president Diana Vallera says it's a "major victory" for the union.

Administrative law judge Robert Ringler, ruling for the NLRB, found that the college had violated federal labor law by failing to provide information and by refusing to bargain with the union.

According to the NLRB order, the college must post notices about the availability of this "back pay" within two weeks; must directly inform (by e-mail or other means) anyone who's been an HHSS adjunct since November 3, 2010; and must sit down at the bargaining table with P-fac to work out some sort of agreement on the effect of the cuts.

P-fac is working under an extension of a contract that expired two years ago. Vallera says the union has been attempting to negotiate a new contract since then.

Columbia did not return calls for comment; the college has two weeks to file an appeal.

[UPDATE 7/23/2012]: In an e-mail today, Columbia College associate vice president Diane Doyne said that the college "strongly" disagrees with the decision and will appeal.