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ERIC Number: EJ1086504
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec-7
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1938-5978
Student Unions: The Implications for Colleges and Universities
Felper, David; Dragga, Anthony
New England Journal of Higher Education, Dec 2015
Efforts to unionize students at private universities are gaining momentum. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has agreed to reconsider whether graduate students at private nonprofit colleges and universities should be treated as employees under the National Labor Relations Act. The case, "New School", Case No. 02- RC-143009, involves a United Auto Workers petition to organize graduate students at New York's New School and marks the NLRB's latest attempt to revisit, and potentially overturn, its decision in "Brown University", 342 NLRB 483 (2004). In its "Brown" ruling, the NLRB determined that Brown University's graduate students could not unionize. The NLRB's decision to review this important issue has led many to believe that a change is in the works, and private colleges and universities need to be prepared for the implications of this decision. The implications of employee recognition for graduate students, and perhaps other students, will likely have a broad impact on the relationship between students and their universities should the NLRB overturn "Brown". Here are a few considerations as the board revisits this important issue: (1) The NLRB's decision to revisit "Brown" is a long-time coming; (2) Other private universities will follow suit; (3) Teaching and research assistants may be covered employees under employment laws. It remains to be seen whether the NLRB will reverse "Brown" in the coming year, and if so, ultimately how far it will be extended. Of course, all this concern could go away with a new presidential administration and a different National Labor Relations Board. Regardless of the outcome of "New School", it is important that private institutions prepare for a future in which graduate students seek, and potentially receive, collective bargaining and union rights.
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: National Labor Relations Act
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A