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President's Message | Archive

Regarding the Shuttle Operators Union

For almost a year, American University has been working to resolve a
disagreement with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) concerning how
an election was conducted and which involved AU shuttle operators. We
appealed to the NLRB to review the conduct of their election official who
prevented a late arriving shuttle operator from voting – in violation of the
NLRB’s own guidelines. The NLRB rendered a decision on this matter on
September 27, which upheld the election.

I have carefully reviewed the NLRB decision upholding the results of the
election. I remind our community that the university’s appeal was grounded in
two important principles—the right to vote, and the obligation of government to
adhere to established policies and procedures. I understood that by acting on
these principles we risked being viewed as opposing another important principle
that we also value highly—the right of workers to organize and bargain
collectively. I continue to believe that the election was significantly
compromised by the conduct of the government official responsible for
administering the election.

The university has the right to utilize the courts to seek serious answers to the
very important questions we have raised. However, this course of action would
likely take months or years to complete. I am not prepared to allow that much
time to pass before the affected parties receive a definitive ruling from the courts.

Therefore, the university will abide by the NLRB’s decision because it is time to
turn the page and move on to good-faith bargaining. The community should
understand that our highest priority is the safety of our shuttle bus passengers and
the efficiency of that service’s operations. I am certain this same priority will be
shared by our operators and their representatives.

I want to thank those campus constituents who provided me with their thoughtful
and considered views on this important matter.

September 28, 2007

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