Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Dean Dobranski intimidates Ave Maria Law staff from organizing; claims it is contrary to mission of the school

Update VI:

Approximately two weeks ago, an Ave Maria School of Law employee ,who is also an alumnus and licensed attorney, informed Dean Dobranski in a letter of her intention to organize along with other employees at the law school. Tuesday morning, the Dean called a meeting of the staff on short notice. Neither the organizing employee, nor any other attorney employee, were present at the meeting, which happened to occur one day before the first scheduled organizing meeting. The Dean warned the staff at this morning's meeting that they should not attempt to form, support, or join any sort of collective bargaining unit/union, as that would be against the mission of the school. After the staff meeting, the Dean had a meeting with faculty where he told them not to get any ideas in regards to the proposed organizing of the staff.

The Dean actually gave NO notice of this meeting and actually pulled staff members out of their proctoring duties IN THE MIDDLE OF AN EXAM and had the meeting in THE DEAN'S OWN CONFERENCE ROOM.
Apparently, the organizing employee was not at school that morning as she had jury duty and so it is believed that the Dean called this meeting as soon as he found out that this employee would not be able to attend.

The Dean informed all staff at this meeting that if they committed any actions that were contrary to the mission of the school, there would be disciplinary consequences. Note that because the Dean said that union organizing went against the mission of the school, the threat was that anyone who joined a union would face disciplinary measures.

The Dean was asked afterwards for a copy of the minutes of the meeting. This request has been denied.

The dean is denying the meeting was called for or called about the proposed union.

Some of the recent events at AMSL might shed more information as to why some AMSL staff have thought about organizing:

-Charlie's Rice's administrative assistant was given strict orders to NO LONGER send any emails on his behalf

-A meeting was called by the Dean's office to explore implementing an electronic mail and internet monitoring program on its employees.

- Members of the IT department were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement that appears to be the precursor to this electronic monitoring program.

-There are simliar efforts underway at AMU to unionize

-A harsh letter from an outgoing AMU professor was sent around last week (was posted briefly on Fumare but then removed at professor's request)

A climate of fear now pervades the law school at all levels, and comparisons are being drawn to the ruthless tactics used during the AMC breakup and move to AMU...

Developing hard...

See the post below for an analysis of Catholic Social Teaching on the subject of organizing and unions.


At 11:10 PM, Blogger Poor Billy said...

It is confirmed that the Dean used a derivative of the word "dismissed" in relation to employment. Depending on the context of this remark, this may constitute an unfair labor practice.

This blogger is not so sure the Dean said organizing employees would be against the mission of the school. It seems that it is more likely that he threatened dismissal for any actions contrary to the mission of the school. Of course, why he may have seen the need to do so in the context of a meeting to discuss a possible organization attempt is for any to guess.

It seems he may have also made indirect references to some case law that says the NLRB has no jurisdiction when lay teachers attempt to organize in church-operated schools. The case law is very specific to church-operated schools, which AMSL is obviously not. The decisions, fathered by NLRB v Archbishop of Chicago, are establishment clause cases. It does not seem the cases would extend to an institution like AMSL. If they did, they would emasculate the NLRA, allowing any employer to deny the right of workers to organize on religious freedom grounds.

Quite possibly the worst thing about this is that AMSL thinks a collective voice for employees who have had no voice at all is a BAD thing. I think those who run the school are likely Republicans first and Catholics second.

Time will tell what happens.

At 9:20 AM, Blogger kmte said...

If poor billy has confirmation "that the Dean used a derivative of the word 'dismissed' in relation to employment," then this jives very closely with what happened at Ave Maria College under the administration there.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger bncq said...

What facts and/or circumstances prompted efforts to organize a union at AMSOL?

At 1:12 PM, Blogger res_ipsa_loquitur said...

Is Monaghan's ego a fact or a circumstance?

At 3:22 PM, Blogger Poor Billy said...

Pure speculation on why an organization attempt at this point in time: uncertainty in wage/salary, rising cost of health benefits, uncertainty vis-a-vis compensation in case of a close of this location of the school, all other constituencies (students, alumni, faculty) have some sort of collective voice. Who knows?

It really shouldn't be controversial. AMSOL, as an employer, shouldn't fear or oppose a collective voice for its lowest paid employees but, because of their record of loyalty and good work should just let them figure out for themselves if this is what they want or need. THAT would be keeping in line with respect for human dignity, NOT scaring them or intimidating them. That is a tactic reserved for employers with something to fear or something to hide. I would hope AMSL is not such an employer.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger HeWhoMustNotBeNamed said...

Dean Dobranski emphasized publically at the annual alumni meeting that Charlie Rice would remain a full member of the faculty if he so chose, the board of governors "procedure" ("procedure" is such a great euphemism for so many distasteful acts, isn't it?) would have no effect on his position as a faculty member, etc. Faculty members and their assistants are allowed to communicate via the "all law systems" e-mail list. Ordering Kim to never send another e-mail from CR clearly flies in the face of Rice's purportedly untouched status as a full faculty member. So either 1) the Dean was lying when he made his public statement, or 2) Rice is being punished for his refusal to go quietly into the night. Either way, he's not being treated as a full faculty member - and this bears further investigation and exposure.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

if anyone wants the full letter from the resigning AMU prof one might consider sending an email to

just saying.

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Mark Lickona said...

Is it true that the Dean used to be a labor negotiator?

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Poor Billy said...

The Dean was, indeed, a labor lawyer and an arbitrator. That doesn't necessarily mean his take on labor law is correct, though :-).

At 4:42 PM, Blogger Anakin Aquinas said...

do we have any new information about this situation?


Post a Comment

<< Home