National Labor Relations Board v. Yeshiva University, 444 U.S. 672; 100 S. Ct. 856; 63 L. Ed 2d 115 (1980)

National Labor Relations Board v. Yeshiva University, 444 U.S. 672; 100 S. Ct. 856; 63 L. Ed 2d 115 (1980)

Facts—Yeshiva, a private university in New York City, conducted a wide variety of arts and sciences programs at its undergraduate and graduate schools. The University Faculty Association (union) filed a petition with the NLRB seeking certification as bargaining agent for the full-time faculty members at ten of the thirteen schools. The university opposed the petition contending that all of its faculty members were managerial or supervisory personnel and are not considered employees within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act.

Question—Are the full-time faculty members of Yeshiva University excluded from the categories of employees entitled to collectively bargain under the National Labor Relations Act?


ReasonsJ. Powell (5–4). “There is no evidence that Congress has considered whether a university faculty may organize for collective bargaining under the act. The act was intended to accommodate the type of management employee relations that prevail in the pyramidal hierarchies of private industry. The authority of Yeshiva University’s faculty is absolute. They decide what courses will be offered, when they will be scheduled, and to whom they will be taught. They debate and determine teaching methods, grading policies, and matriculation standards. It is difficult to imagine decisions more managerial than these. In arguing that a faculty member exercising independent judgment acts primarily in his own interest and therefore does not represent the interest of his employer, the board assumes that the professional interests of the faculty and the interests of the institution are distinct, separable entities with which a faculty member could not simultaneously be aligned, we perceive no justification for this. The faculty’s professional interests cannot be separated from those of the institution.”

J. Brennan, dissenting, argued that the NLRB was better suited to balance the respective interests involved in this case than was the Supreme Court.

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