The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


GUEST VOICES: The administration shouldn’t be spending money to fight our unionization effort

Guest Voices is an occasional series that invites Chatham community members to share their views about a topic of importance and interest to them on campus.
Chatham Faculty United faculty pose outside of Eddy Theater on March 13, 2024. Image credit: Courtesy of Jessie Ramey

As Chatham University faculty, we are committed to building a school community that works for everyone and where students can flourish in an equitable, healthy and sustainable university. We believe a faculty union is the best way to accomplish these goals. Shared governance with a union contract means faculty will have a seat at the table when decisions are being made that impact our students, our teaching, our scholarship, our careers and our University.

As reported in the Communiqué, more than 75% of the faculty signed cards with Chatham Faculty United expressing their interest in forming a union. That figure now stands at 80% of faculty, and we have requested that the administration voluntarily recognize CFU. Instead, the administration has hired Duane Morris, a national law firm with a history of union-busting. This is the law firm that charged the Central Bucks School District $1.75 million last year to fight a federal complaint brought by the American Civil Liberties Union alleging discrimination against LGBTQIA+ students. Duane Morris charged the district $640-$940 per hour, per lawyer. While we don’t know how much Duane Morris will charge Chatham, we do know that the administration could have spent that money on students, academic programs and benefits for faculty and staff.

This did not need to happen.  

The administration could have simply recognized CFU and moved to good-faith negotiations. Instead, the administration challenged CFU, arguing that all faculty are “managerial employees” and that not a single faculty member is permitted to be in our union. The administration took this matter to the National Labor Relations Board, which must now hold hearings in response to the administration’s position. NLRB procedures do not require institutions to resist unionization efforts.

The NLRB hearings are continuing this week and are open to the public; all are welcome to attend. The administration could stop the hearings at any time and recognize Chatham Faculty United. In the meantime, CFU continues to promote a thriving university for students, faculty, staff, alumni and our community. Chatham Faculty United believes in transparency and invites everyone to check our website for more information.  


Chatham Faculty United, core organizing committee

Mike Boyd, Music

Kevin Hatala, Biology

Lou Martin, History

Chris Murakami, Agroecology

Jessie Ramey, Women’s & Gender Studies

John Stakeley, Business

Jennie Sweet-Cushman, Political Science

Erin Marie Williams-Hatala, Biology

Ann Williamson, Physical Therapy

Gina Zanardelli, Counseling Psychology

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  • C

    Carson FolioMar 26, 2024 at 1:51 am

    Standing in solidarity with members of the CFU! I may be a Point Park University student, but even I see the value in allowing a college’s faculty to unionize and bargain for what they deserve. Changes that can be implemented without notice and without the ability to bargain makes no sense, especially for people who have such a strong stake in a university. Ultimately, it is the faculty that students remember and rely on during their academic journey, so it is baffling that Chatham’s administration is acting with bad faith against you all. Perhaps they should take a lesson from Point Park’s administration and at least not publicly go on a tirade against its’ own faculty? Regardless, best of luck to you all!