From the desk of Stephen Cabot: Just before Americans were to celebrate the unofficial beginning of summer over the Memorial Day weekend, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided to make Catholic educators unhappy. It declared that St. Xavier University was not sufficiently religious to be exempt from federal jurisdiction. That ruling followed an earlier one against the Christian Brothers' Manhattan College.
Though a Court of Appeals has twice ordered the NLRB to cease harassing religious institutions, the NLRB – in its aggressive pro-union actions – has ignored the court. It hasn’t mattered to the Board that in 2002 and 2008, the court reversed the NLRB, thus exempting religious institutions from the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. The Board insists that it has the right to determine if a religious institution has a "substantial religious character." And if it doesn’t meet the Board’s criteria, then the Board can impose its policies. This dispute is likely to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
It becomes increasingly apparent that the NLRB will do whatever is necessary to advance the agenda of organized labor, even if that means obviating federal law when it comes to religious institutions. College faculty members, after all, represent a huge pool of potential dues-paying union members.