Point Park Administration Ready To Talk To Union

Jul 20, 2015

A long-standing Downtown feud could be on its way to resolution.

Point Park University President Paul Hennigan announced Monday that his administration had dropped its objection to the unionization of the school’s full-time faculty.

“This case started ... under a different administration,” Hennigan said.  “This administration is just not interested in a fight.”

Point Park administrators first disputed the validity of the organizing effort in 2003 when faculty members initially voted to join the Communication Workers of America Union. College officials objected, arguing a teaching job constituted an administrative position, so employees were therefore ineligible to join organized labor.

Their claim was sent to a regional branch of the National Labor Relations Board where it creeped through the system until 2007 when it went dormant awaiting action from national officials. The U.S. office sent it back to the regional NLRB earlier this year following a federal case involving a similar dispute in Washington state.

Union officials did not respond to calls for comment. Hennigan said he is optimistic contract negotiations will go smoothly.

“Both parties will get to the table and discuss a whole variety of issues, not just salaries and wages,” Hennigan said.

About 140 teachers could be covered by a contract.

Hennigan said the school is waiting to hear from the regional NLRB office, which will determine the next step in the process. He does not expect the talks to have any impact on returning students or the university’s efforts to recruit and retain students and faculty, he said.

Earlier this month, Point Park laid off 32 employees in what was called a restructuring move.

Correction:

This story was updated July 21 to more accurately reflect the number of teachers that could be covered by a union contract and the type of workers laid off in July.