State labor board finds Pitt faculty numbers inflated in union drive opposition

Jun 26, 2020 by

See the source imageA state Labor Relations Board hearing examiner says the University of Pittsburgh artificially inflated its faculty numbers and in doing so impeded a unionization campaign, according to the United Steelworkers union.

Hearing Examiner Stephen A. Helmerich found that an employee list “was factually and legally inaccurate” and concluded that about 300 names should be removed, including upper administrators, supervisors and others, including some who left Pitt years before, a statement released by the union said.

Pitt spokesman Patrick McMahon said in response, “We disagree with the PLRB’s decision, and will carefully consider our next steps. We remain confident that the university’s handling of this matter has been appropriate.”

Neither Pitt nor the union indicated Friday if the difference was enough to overturn the union’s failed attempt to secure the necessary card signatures from faculty indicating a preference for union representation. The threshold is 30% of the bargaining unit.

In this Jan. 22, 2018, file photo, Tom McWhorter of the University's of Pittsburgh's Department of English, drops his signed union card to the ballot box as faculty members begin their unionization efforts.
Bill Schackner
Bid to organize Pitt faculty falls short, but union contests ruling

A yearlong drive to unionize 3,500 Pitt faculty appeared in April 2019 to have failed, with word the state found too few employees signed cards of support to justify a hearing on a proposed election.

At the time, the board did not specify what share and number of potential bargaining unit members had signed cards. It called that confidential, and neither side revealed those numbers.

A spokesman for the PLRB could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

Source: State labor board finds Pitt faculty numbers inflated in union drive opposition | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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