Catholic Higher Education

According to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, America is home to more than 200 Catholic institutions of higher education serving nearly one million students. Most were established and largely staffed by religious orders, and served primarily Catholic students. Today’s Catholic universities, however, employ faculty and staff — and enroll students — of all faith backgrounds.

Catholic social teaching defends the right of all workers to form unions and bargain collectively, but different categories of university employees have different legal status under American labor law. Some categories of employees, such as custodians, cafeteria workers and many clerical employees — enjoy all the protections of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Tenured faculty, on the other hand, are considered management employees; although they can and sometimes do form unions, the Labor Board will not protect them from retaliation if they do so.

In recent years adjunct faculty in colleges across the United States — who have been assigned increasing amounts of the college teaching load — have sought to organize in unions. A growing number of Catholic colleges have recognized unions of adjunct instructors, but a handful are refusing to recognize the unions their adjuncts have chosen and invoking first amendment religious freedoms to seek exemption from the Labor Board’s jurisdiction. Whatever one thinks of the merits of their legal case, Church teaching is perfectly clear on workers’ right to form unions and bargain collectively through representatives of their choice. One would expect that an institution with a strong commitment to its Catholic identity would recognize and bargain with the union chosen by their employees WHETHER OR NOT the NLRB has jurisdiction. The position these schools have adopted — we are TOO CATHOLIC to be subject to US Labor Law but NOT CATHOLIC ENOUGH to adhere to honor Catholic social teaching on principle alone — arguably courts scandal. (For a detailed treatment, see Which Side are We On? in America Magazine.) Schools marked with an asterisk* have some union-represented employees but are challenging the rights of others to organize and bargain collectively.

In addition to bargaining directly with unions of their employees, a number of Catholic universities have taken important steps to vindicate the rights of workers employed by their contractors and suppliers. Some have adopted contracting policies that insist firms providing janitorial or food services pay workers a living wage and honor their workers’ right to organize. Others have adopted fair labor codes for suppliers of college-branded garments and gear. In many cases universities have been aided in their discernment on these matters by vigorous student action.

Below find a list of Catholic Colleges and Universities whose direct or indirect (contract) employees have union representation, and a list of Catholic Colleges participating in the Workers’ Rights Consortium, a joint effort to monitor labor conditions in overseas plants producing products bearing the college name or logo.

Catholic Higher Education Institutions with Collective Bargaining


 Archdiocese of San Francisco

University of San Francisco, San Francisco CA

  • Faculty, AFT Local 4269
  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 2

Archdiocese of Los Angeles

 Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles CA

  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 11

Diocese of Oakland

 St. Mary’s College of California, Moraga CA

  • Non-Tenured Faculty, SEIU 1021
  • Food Service, UNITEHERE Local 2850

 Diocese of Sacramento

 Notre Dame de Namur, Belmont CA

  • Non-Tenured Faculty, SEIU 1021
  • Food Service, UNITEHERE Local 2850


Archdiocese of Denver

Regis University, Denver CO

  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 23



Diocese of Bridgeport

Fairfield University, Fairfield CT

  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 217
  • Faculty, AAUP

District of Columbia

 Archdiocese of Washington

 Catholic University of America, Washington DC

  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 23

Georgetown University, Washington DC

  • Adjunct faculty, SEIU 500
  • University Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 23
  • Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center, UNITE HERE Local 23
  • Bulldog Tavern, , UNITE HERE Local 23

Trinity Washington University, Washington DC

  • Adjunct Faculty, SEIU Local 500
  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 23


Diocese of St. Petersburg

St. Leo University, St. Leo FL

  • Faculty, AFT/NEA United Faculty of Florida St. Leo


 Archdiocese of Chicago

 Dominican University, River Forest IL

  • Food Service, UNITEHERE Local 1

DePaul University, Chicago IL

  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 1

Loyola University Chicago

  • Adjunct Faculty, SEIU Local 73
  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 1

St. Xavier University*

  • Tenured Faculty, Independent Union


Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Marian University, Indianapolis IN

  • Operations/Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 23



Archdiocese of Boston

Laboure College, Milton MA

  • Faculty, NEA-Massachusetts Teachers’ Association




 Archdiocese of Detroit

University of Detroit, Mercy

  • Faculty, NEA/Michigan Education Association
  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 24


Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul MN

  • Trades/Maintenance, IBT Local 120



Archdiocese of St. Louis

St. Louis University, St. Louis MO

  • Adjunct Faculty, SEIU Local 1
  • Food Service UNITE HERE Local 23

New Jersey

Archdiocese of Newark

Felician Unviersity, Lodi NJ

  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 100

 St. Peter’s University, Jersey City NJ

  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 100

Seton Hall University, South Orange NJ

  • Staff, OPEIU Local 153

New York

Archdiocese of New York

College of Mount Saint Vincent, NY

  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 100

Dominican College, Blauvelt NY

  • Food Service, UNITEHERE Local 100

 Fordham University

  • Office and Clerical, OPEIU 153
  • Maintenance/Trades/Food Service, IBT 810
  • Adjunct Faculty, SEIU Local 200

 Manhattan College, New York NY*

  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 100

Marymount Manhattan College, New York NY*

  • Staff, AFT 7942
  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 100

Diocese of Brooklyn

St. Francis College, Brooklyn NY

  • Adjunct Faculty, AFT 7965

St. John’s University, Queens NY

  • Faculty, AAUP
  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 100

 Diocese of Buffalo

D’Youville College, Buffalo NY

  • Faculty, AAUP
  • Maintenance, SEIU 200

Diocese of Rockville Centre

 Molloy College, Rockville Center NY

  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 100

 Diocese of Syracuse

LeMoyne College, Syracuse NY

  • Adjunct Faculty, AFT 7967


 Diocese of Pittsburgh

 Duquesne University, Pittsburgh PA*

  • Police/Security Guards, IBT

 Diocese of Scranton

 University of Scranton, Scranton PA

  • Faculty, AAUP


Rhode Island

Diocese of Providence

Providence College, Providence RI

  • Food Service, UNITE HERE New England Joint Board


Diocese of Austin

St. Edward’s University, Austin TX

  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 23


Diocese of Burlington

St. Michaels College, Colchester VT

  • Adjunct Faculty, SEIU 200
  • Maintenance, AFSCME Local 1343


Archdiocese of Seattle

Seattle University, Seattle WA*

  • Food Service, UNITE HERE Local 8


Fair Trade Goods and Garments

The following Catholic colleges and universities are reported as members of the Workers’ Rights Consortium, which inspects and certifies fair labor practices by vendors of college logo goods and garments:

· Aquinas College
· Bellarmine University
· Boston College
· The College of the Holy Cross
· Duquesne University
· Fordham University
· Georgeotwn University
· Gonzaga University
· John Carroll University
· Loyola University of Chicago
· St. John’s University
· Saint Louis University
· Saint Mary’s College
· University of Notre Dame
· Villanova University
· Xavier University