Pitt Faculty Organizers Decry Chancellor’s Refusal to Comply with Labor Board Subpoena

CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444, jkamm@usw.org

Faculty union organizers at the University of Pittsburgh today condemned Chancellor Patrick Gallagher’s refusal to fully comply with a subpoena from the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB). 

The subpoena requested information regarding the list of faculty eligible to be in a potential bargaining unit that the Pitt administration provided to the PLRB earlier this year. The administration this week directed its lawyers to defy the request, filing a motion to quash with the board. If successful, the administration would be able to avoid providing nearly all of the requested information.

The USW sought the information in preparation for a PLRB hearing scheduled to begin July 24 to examine the accuracy of the list. Organizers believe the refusal stems from a desire to conceal that the Pitt administration deliberately inflated the number of faculty in order to avoid a union election.

“Given the depths to which Chancellor Gallagher has already sunk in order to thwart our efforts to form a union on campus, it’s unsurprising that the administration is pursuing this course of action,” said William Scott, an associate professor in the English department. “It’s clear that he knows a majority of faculty want a union and is willing to do anything to keep us from voting.”

On June 18, the PLRB ruled that the union’s objections to the list warranted consideration and ordered the Pitt administration to provide it to the organizing committee. Faculty organizers found that the list appears to include several hundred individuals who do not belong, including deans and other administrators, graduate student employees, undergraduate students, faculty who haven’t taught at Pitt in years, faculty who are retired, and even a few faculty who are deceased.

The evidence organizers requested would confirm these findings.

“One of the primary reasons Pitt faculty want a union is because we need more transparency on campus,” said Melinda Ciccocioppo, a lecturer in the department of psychology. “This latest in a string of attacks on our right to vote further illustrates this problem.” 

Pitt faculty filed for a union election in January, citing the erosion of shared governance and the administration’s failure to focus the university’s resources on the core mission of teaching and research.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, mining, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, the service, public and health care sectors and higher education.

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