Tags: nlrb | graduate students | unionize | private school

NLRB: Graduate Students at Private Colleges Can Unionize

Image: NLRB: Graduate Students at Private Colleges Can Unionize

People walk on the Columbia University campus on July 1, 2013 in New York City. An interest rate hike kicks in today for student loans, an increase for 7 million students. Congress left town at the end of last week failing to prevent rates on new Stafford student loans increasing from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 24 Aug 2016 02:26 PM

The National Labor Relations Board ruled Tuesday that graduate students can unionize at private schools and that they are covered by the National Labor Relations Act.

The NLRB announced its 3-1 ruling in connection with a case involving Columbia University student assistants. The Graduate Workers of Columbia-GWC, United Auto Workers had filed an election petition to represent both graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants.

The union was also seeking to represent graduate and departmental research assistants at the university.

The Washington Post reported that the fight to unionize was a two-year battle. A regional labor board director rejected a request to unionize last fall, but the full NLRB invited students, unions, and universities to submit briefs and took up the case from there.

"Graduate student unions at public institutions are common, as students' collective bargaining status on public campuses is governed by state law," Inside Higher Ed writer Colleen Flaherty stated. "But the NLRB oversees graduate student unions on private campuses."

"Tuesday's decision in favor of a graduate student union bid at Columbia University effectively reverses an earlier NLRB ruling against a graduate student union at Brown University, which had been the law of the land since 2004. The decision also overturns a much longer-standing precedent against collective bargaining for externally funded research assistants in the sciences," Flaherty added.

NLRB chairman Mark Gaston Pearce and members Kent Y. Hirozawa and Lauren McFerran ruled in favor of the decision while member Philip A. Miscimarra dissented in the case, according to the board's statement.

"Federal courts have made clear that the authority to define the term 'employee' rests primarily with the board absent an exception enumerated within the National Labor Relations Act," the NLRB statement said. "The act contains no clear language prohibiting student assistants from its coverage. The majority found no compelling reason to exclude student assistants from the protections of the act."

Miscimarra said that the decision could "wreak havoc" on the students' education, with the potential for strikes and lockouts.

Joseph Ambash, the Boston attorney who won the 2004 case for Brown, told the Post that problems still exist with the ruling.

"If a union is allowed to bargain about what teaching and research assistants do, that would in effect be interfering with the educational requirement of many of these schools," Ambash said. "That would have a dramatic impact on higher education."

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
TheWire
The National Labor Relations Board ruled Tuesday that graduate students can unionize at private schools and that they are covered by the National Labor Relations Act.
nlrb, graduate students, unionize, private school
393
2016-26-24
Wednesday, 24 Aug 2016 02:26 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved