The NLRB changes its mind.

The Federal labor board just overturned its standing ruling (h/t) that denied collective bargaining rights to teaching and research assistants, the ruling that schools relied on to fight the Northwestern football players’ attempt to unionize.

The NLRB said that a previous ruling by the board — that these workers were not entitled to collective bargaining because they are students — was flawed. The NLRB ruling, 3 to 1, came in a case involving a bid by the United Auto Workers to organize graduate students at Columbia University. The decision reverses a 2004 decision — which has been the governing one until today — about a similar union drive at Brown University.

The ruling largely rejects the fights of previous boards over whether teaching assistants should be seen primarily as students or employees. They can be both, the majority decision said.  [Emphasis added.]

If college presidents’ sphincters make a sound when they tighten, then should you listen carefully, that’s what you can hear in the background.  You can bet somebody is going to make another run at unionizing college football players.  It’s just a matter of time.


Filed under Look For The Union Label

19 responses to “The NLRB changes its mind.

  1. DoubleDawg1318

    I wonder why they want to organize. The assistantships, at least at Georgia, are very generous.


    • Governor Milledge

      $$$ above and beyond cost of attendance. Increased ability to transfer schools without meddling of coaches/conferences. Ongoing health care post-college. Retirement benefits.

      Who knows where it could end – there’s a lot of TV money out there


    • stoopnagle

      Ehhh… what department are you talking about?


      • DoubleDawg1318

        I’m in SPIA. My dept is Public Administration. The assistantships my friends got cover all tuition plus $1200/month and access to a relatively cheap student health insurance plan. As far as I know that’s for the whole university but I could be wrong. Anyways, I would kill for that opportunity so I don’t see what else you would want to organize for.


        • Will

          As someone who was a TA and graduate assistant at UGA, I can confirm you are right that some departments have great deals (STEM, mainly). I can also confirm I was paid less than what you’ve indicated above for my time teaching over 2 years. So it goes both ways.


    • 92 grad

      Yes. I was elated to have tuition waiver on my masters degree, $700/month, and significant teaching/classroom responsibility. I was as happy as I could be. But, I don’t think they’re too worried about the school of music TA staff……


  2. Trbodawg

    I heard this story on NPR this AM and my first thought was, “What’s the Senator gonna say about this” 🙂


  3. AusDawg85

    Coming to a college stadium near you soon…fans crossing a picket line to watch the walk-ons play. Fun times.


  4. sniffer

    So, when they become employees and marketing opportunities become the norm, who will the naming rights be sold to? Coca Cola? Chik-fi-la? Alexander Shunnarah?


  5. S

    I would predict that administrators will increase their pools of adjuncts as much as possible and reduce teaching assistantships.


  6. ElectroM

    The networks should love it if players organize. Just think, flag thrown, gotta get the union reps on the field to help decide the call and penalty. More time for commercials.


  7. doofusdawg

    Well Hillary said she was going to make college free… gotta do something to delineate the students from the athletes. As far as the ruling… in the last six months of the current administration’s term… i’m shocked.


  8. lakedawg

    Am always puzzled by making things (free) , college, healthcare, food stamps. Are all these educators, medical professionals, etc. donating their time spent in order to make all this free?


  9. ASEF

    First time through grad school, I was grateful for the $700 a month (no tuition waiver) for teaching and research responsibilities on top of course work.

    Second time through grad school. I laughed my ass off at the offer (privately). It was touchy, though – rejecting the “honor” bent a couple of old-timers a bit out of shape. Fortunately, I had kids and a built-in excuse.


  10. Macallanlover

    Just when you think things can not get worse, more government intervention into things that are working well producing. They do so well at tearing down the good and supporting the dregs. Poor college students masquerading as athletes getting freebies now need representation, right to bring production to a halt, and not be held accountable for anything. Burn baby burn! Let’s make CFB average again. Imagine NPR (one of the larger totally wasteful programs anywhere in the gubmint) being interested in such an idea, my oh my.


  11. Nashville West

    Time for a reality check folks. The National Labor Relations Act doesn’t apply to state employees. That means in the SEC only Vandy would be covered by this ruling unless a football player union one is authorized by state law. Does anyone think that any of the state governments where the SEC is located (other than possibly, Missouri) would authorize a football players union at an SEC school ?

    On the other hand, this would apply to Stanford, USC, Notre Dame, Miami, TCU and other private schools. It could also have some influence in strong public sector union states like California and most of the Northeast/Upper Midwest.