April 26, 2022

Update on Faculty Unionization Effort (042622)

Dear Faculty,

We recently shared that the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) has filed a Petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking an election to represent full-time and part-time faculty at ArtCenter. There will be a hearing before the NLRB, the independent federal agency that oversees these matters, on May 4 to determine whether the Petition goes forward and an election is held. We will share more information as it becomes available.

We believe it is up to faculty — not ArtCenter or the union — to decide whether or not they wish to be represented by a union. If an election is held, and if our faculty chooses union representation, we will respect that decision and work in good faith and partnership with the union.

Faculty members considering union representation have the right to be fully informed with accurate information so they can make a decision that is right for them. Throughout this process, we will endeavor to be a source of information, and we will contribute to a thoughtful and respectful dialogue about unionization and what it could mean to our campus community.

In full transparency, we believe that maintaining a direct working relationship with our faculty is central to fostering ArtCenter’s unique mission and continuing to improve our workplace culture. This direct working relationship has produced a strong track record of shared governance and of valuing, respecting, and acting on the concerns and recommendations of our faculty. In fact, a representative task force is just completing a proposal to the community for a new shared governance structure (the “Senate”) that was initiated and created by the faculty themselves. We have worked for several months on this project, and we don’t want to risk losing the progress we have made together. Most significantly, we don’t want to risk losing our entire governance model by having a union come between us.

To be clear, we are not anti-union. Unions play an important role in our society, giving voice to workers who have none.  But this is not the case at our College, which has a culture rooted in open communication, collaboration, and mutual respect. Working through a third party — especially through a union that has limited understanding of small, private academic institutions like ours — could change a culture that we all value and that makes our institution special.

We look forward to continuing to listen, reflect, and share viewpoints in a manner that embraces the very best of our academic environment.


Dr. Lorne M. Buchman
Art Center College of Design

Karen Hofmann
Art Center College of Design