Duquesne is a Catholic University in Pittsburgh with nearly 10,000 students. The school’s adjunct professors would like to unionize. Conveniently, Duquesne does not believe Jesus would be in favor of that.
Adjunct professors across America tend to be poorly paid with little job security. Unionizing is one of the few things they can do to try to improve their tenuous positions. As Colleen Flaherty details in an excellent Inside Higher Ed story today, Duquesne’s adjuncts have spent several years trying to gain recognition as a union, being opposed by the university the entire time. Currently, Duquesne is trying to convince the National Labor Relations Board that it should be allowed to block the union based on the school’s religious affiliation. As if that is not bad enough conceptually, the school also argues in a recent filing (first reported by In These Times) that it should be allowed to fire two adjuncts who have been actively trying to organize the union.
Inside Higher Ed explains the menace contained in a single footnote of Duquesne’s argument:
Then comes the alleged threat: “Regardless, today Duquesne reserves the right not to rehire both professors and replace them with professors willing and/or better able to incorporate Duquesne’s Catholic, Spiritan mission into their courses.”
The note goes on to say that if [history of science professor Adam] Davis, for example, “improperly denigrated the sacrament of the Eucharist” because his textbook mentions transubstantiation (which it does), “Duquesne would have the right to take adverse action.”
To be clear: Duquesne is arguing that is poorly paid adjunct professors should not be allowed to form a union in part because such a union might impede the school’s ability to fire a history of science professor for teaching un-Catholic science.
Deuteronomy 24:14 says, “Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy.” Jesus added, in a footnote, “But please do anything to prevent poor and needy hired workers from organizing for their collective good, because the most important thing is maintaining a sufficient budget for the Duquesne men’s basketball team.”