After a group of students who were part-time library employees of the University of Chicago attempted to unionize, the University fought the organization attempt. The students won before the National Labor Relations Board, but the University refused to bargain with the students’ chosen representatives. The students and their union sued, and the 7th Circuit affirmed the issuance of an enforcement order by the NLRB.
In May 2017, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union Local No. 743 filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board. Local 743 sought to represent for collective bargaining purposes a unit of part-time student employees of the University of Chicago Libraries. The University responded with a “statement of position.” In it, the University contended that the proposed unit of student employees was not appropriate for collective bargaining. The University gave three reasons, one of which was that the students were temporary employees who did not manifest an interest in their employment terms and conditions that were sufficient to warrant collective-bargaining representation.
The University followed a procedure set out in 29 C.F.R. § 102.66(c) to submit an “offer of proof” – a description of the evidence the University would present to the Board to show that student employees were not entitled to collectively bargain. At a pre-election hearing on May 17, 2017, the Board’s hearing officer explained that after reviewing the proposed evidence and testimony that the University would put on to support its arguments, the Board would not take evidence because the evidence proposed and the testimony all dealt with established Board law.
The Board’s regional director echoed the hearing officer’s assessment, concluding that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the University’s contentions. The regional director ordered an election for the representation of the unit proposed by Local 743. The University asked the NLRB to stay the election and review the regional director’s decision. The Board denied that request, concluding that the facts asserted in the University’s offer of proof were insufficient to warrant the conclusion that the library clerks should be deemed ineligible as temporary or casual employees. Continue reading ›