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Union files complaint in USC faculty election

Union files complaint in USC faculty election
People gather around the "Tommy Trojan" statue at the center of USC's campus. (Los Angeles Times)

Union officials alleged on Tuesday that USC officials interfered with attempts to organize non-tenure-track faculty by promising them better working conditions and implying that employees would lose rights if they unionized.

Faculty at Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the oldest school at USC, voted against joining the Service Employees International Union Local 721 last week, with 113 educators casting ballots in favor of organizing and 127 voting against.

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But the objection alleges that the Dornsife election was "infected by widely disseminated threats" and "promises and grants of benefits" that "affected the outcome of the election."

If National Labor Relations Board officials find the union's complaint is true, they could call for another election at Dornsife.

The objection also alleged that USC Provost Michael Quick repeatedly told faculty members that if they formed a union they could not participate in the university's governance.

USC officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In letters to USC employees, Quick said that he was not in favor of unionization but also noted that he could not make promises of future treatment during organizing campaigns.

USC faculty at two small schools, the Roski School of Art and Design and the USC International Academy, voted to unionize last week. Fewer than 100 faculty voted in those contests.

Quick said the university plans to appeal the Roski vote because USC administrators believe that some faculty members are managers who cannot be unionized.

USC will not contest the vote at the International Academy, Quick said.

Some faculty members said they were interested in joining a union because they had concerns about pay and working conditions.

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