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NLRB Upholds B.U. Faculty Union

Trustees Will Appeal

By Omar E. Rahman

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled Friday that Boston University must begin to bargain with its recently formed faculty union, but B.U. administration officials said yesterday the university will appeal the ruling.

Boston University's Board of Trustees has refused to engage in collective bargaining with the university's chapter of the American Association of University Professors, since its formation 17 months ago.

Election Results Challenged

When the faculty voted to join the union in the spring of 1975, the trustees challenged the results of the elections. They contended that the elections were not valid because the votes of faculty members outside the U.S. were not counted. It added that the union tried to bias the voting by making misleading statements about alleged violations of academic freedom by B.U. President John R. Silber.

The NLRB overruled both these objections. The board said that the number of faculty members outside the country was not enough to affect the results. It added that the faculty members were sophisticated enough to be able to separate fact from opinion regarding Silber's conduct.

Jack Star, director of public affairs at B.U., said yesterday that the administration will appeal the ruling and does not intend to start bargaining with the union in the meantime.

If the university does not comply with the ruling within 20 days, the case will automatically be brought before the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Star said the trustees primarily object to the inconsistent unionization policies of the American Association of University Professors. He said that the union insisted on excluding medical school personnel from its membership at B.U. while it insisted on including them at other universities. There is "a considerable amount of inconsistency in their policies," he added.

Professor Frank Garfunkel, president of the faculty union, said yesterday there is "no good faith" in the trustees. It had originally been agreed to accept the results of the election, Garfunkel said.


The trustees' refusal to do so shows that "they don't want to deal with the certified representative of the faculty," Garfunkel said.

Garfunkel described the trustees' arguments as "phony," adding, "the administration doesn't have the confidence of the deans, the faculty or the students."

He said he is confident that the NLRB ruling in favor of the union will be upheld, but it will be a "long, bitter and expensive fight."

Star refused to comment on Garfunkel's charges.

The faculty union controversy does not represent the only recent friction in faculty-trustee relations at B.U.

Last spring, the faculty senate at B.U. gave five-year president Silber an overwhelming vote of no-confidence, citing his personal abrasiveness and cavalier budget cuts.

The trustees went on to give Silber a full vote of confidence at a special board meeting last May.

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