Philadelphia’s University of the Arts Declines to Voluntarily Recognize Faculty Union

The University of the Arts in Philadelphia (Wikimedia Commons)

Update, 9/11/2020, 2:46pm EDT: Faculty members at UArts told Hyperallergic that they filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board on September 11, a day after hearing from the university that it will not voluntarily recognize their union. 

David Yager, President and CEO of the University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia, declined to voluntarily recognize the faculty union announced earlier this week, on Labor Day.

The majority of the school’s 500 faculty members signed union cards with United Academics of Philadelphia (UAP), an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. On September 7, the group rallied at the school to ask the administration to voluntarily recognize their union.

In a statement to Hyperallergic Thursday, September 10, Yager expressed his support of a “fair and transparent” vote on a union but said that the university “will not voluntarily recognize the faculty union, and instead encourages the organizing committee to submit appropriate documentation to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) so that a supervised election, in an appropriate voting unit, can be organized and confirmed.”

“We trust our faculty as thoughtful scholars and creatives, and I support the faculty’s ability to do thorough research and make a quality decision about what they want for their future,” Yager’s statement continues. “University of the Arts’ current community of approximately 370 faculty are an integral part of
not only the university’s success, but also the cultural production and success of our city. We look forward to continuing to work as a community toward our mission of advancing human creativity.”