NEW: RWU Professor Files Lawsuit Against Faculty Assocation, NEARI

Monday, March 11, 2013


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Sharon DeLucca is seeking $1.1 m after unions were "ineffective" in their representation of her against Roger Williams University.

A senior professor of Graphic Design at Roger Williams University has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the university’s Faculty Association (RWUFA) and the National Education Association of Rhode Island (NEARI).

Claiming that the union was ineffective in its representation of her during an ongoing grievance case against Roger Williams University, Sharon DeLucca and her attorneys are seeking $1.1 million dollars and punitive damages in their case against the RWUFA and NEARI.

DeLucca, a tenured professor at the university, originally filed her grievance through her local union, the RWUFA, in an attempt to collect back pay from the university for “fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of a department chair without compensation or title,” according to a release. The grievance was then sent to NEARI for arbitration.

DeLucca claims NEARI never “adequately investigated” her claims against the university and was not available for proper council. Further, the release says, she alleges that NEARI “berated her and failed to prepare her grievance for arbitration.”

“Professor DeLucca also asserts that NEARI unjustly caused her arbitration case to be withdrawn after 18 months had passed (a decision which was, after considerable effort and expense, ultimately overturned in a unanimous vote by the RWUFA),” the release says.

DeLucca also filed a second grievance against the university, claiming that she was subject to reprisals because of her compensation request. She accuses the university of “outright intimidation” and claims it sent her a bouquet of “funeral flowers” while she was recovering from a hospital stay.

The professor has had previous history will the university, filing a discrimination charge in 2011 that is now pending. According to the release, she claims NEARI “attempted to force her to withdraw her discrimination case and grievances in an effort to help the university ‘save face.’ ”

DeLucca says she believes the lawsuit is a “necessary first step in a long journey for justice against a union which is supposed to protect her rights.”

"I believe that I am a David fighting two Goliaths," she said in the release. "It takes courage to fight for what's right."


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