This is easily my favorite what-if take on the news of the Northwestern student-athletes seeking union certification:
SI: Northwestern is a private university. Would the process be any different if players at a public university sought to unionize?
MM: The National Labor Relations Act, which the Northwestern players are using, does not govern employees at public universities. Student-athletes at public universities who want to join Northwestern in the union effort would have to instead use state labor laws to unionize. This will be a problem for some. States’ laws vary considerably on whether, and how easily, public employees can unionize. Twenty-four of the 50 states are considered “right-to-work” states in that their laws limit opportunities for employees of public institutions, including those employed by state universities, to unionize. Right-to-work states are typically in the south and include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Nebraska, Utah and Iowa are also right-to-work states.
This legal twist means that if college athletes want to be in a union, they need to attend schools where unions not only exist but are possible under the law. In theory, this dynamic could disadvantage public universities in right-to-work states while recruiting high school athletes: If those athletes want to be in a college sports union, they may not be able to do so at public universities in right-to-work states. [Emphasis added.]
Can you imagine what would happen if Nick Saban asked that Alabama do away with right-to-work laws? Kinda like Bear Bryant demanding that sports segregation end after his team got beat by Southern Cal. LMAO.