The NLRB's Assault on Religious Liberty

While the NLRB’s attack on the Boeing Company and its South Carolina employees may be viewed as an attack on the freedom to expand business in America, Catholic colleges are also under fire from Obama’s NLRB for not being Catholic enough.


Back in January, the New York regional office of the NRLB ruled against Manhattan College’s claim that, as a religious institution, it should be exempted from the National Labor Relations Act. As a result of the NLRB’s rejection of Manhattan College’s religious argument, the college must allow its faculty to unionize.

Now, in a similar case, the NLRB’s regional office in Chicago issued another decision slapping down the argument of St. Xavier University:

Last week a regional official of the National Labor Relations Board NLRB ruled that St. Xavier University in Chicago must allow adjunct professors to form a union. The ruling marked the second time this year that the NLRB has ruled that a Catholic institution of higher education lacks the distinctive religious character that would make it exempt from federal labor laws.

The NLRB ruling, following a similar decision involving Manhattan College earlier this year, underlines the complications that may arise when Catholic colleges and universities seek to increase their independence from Church authority. In making its ruling the NRLB noted that although St. Xavier College was founded by the Sisters of Mercy, the religious order now has only a small presence on campus and represents a minority on the governing board. There are no religious requirements for students, and the school’s bylaws, amended in 1993, do “not contain any reference to religion, God, Catholicism.”


The media and Catholic leaders need to understand that the NLRB assault on Catholic colleges is not new—it has been ongoing for several decades—and it stands in clear contradiction to federal court rulings, which have instructed the NLRB to stop interfering with Catholic education,” Patrick J. Reilly [President of the Cardinal Newman Society] says.


Reilly is author of the NLRB’s Assault on Religious Liberty, which (as the title suggests) traces the National Labor Relations Board’s assault on religious freedom through multiples cases over several decades. [The article is downloadable here.]

Not that it is much comfort, but if American businesses (and their employees) are feeling persecuted at least they’re not alone. So long as you’re union free, it doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re a business, an employee, or a church, you’re a target to the NLRB.


“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776


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