Monday, March 16, 2015

More Routes to T.A. Unions

Inside Higher Ed
March 16th, 2015

The National Labor Relations Board, in two decisions on Friday, gave a lift to efforts to unionize teaching and research assistants at private universities.
The board reversed decisions by an N.L.R.B. regional director to reject union petitions filed by the United Auto Workers on behalf of graduate students at Columbia University and the New School. The union bids had been rejected on the basis of a 2004 N.L.R.B. decision that graduate teaching assistants at Brown University were primarily students and not employees, and thus could not unionize.
The N.L.R.B. has flip-flopped on the issue, and the current board has indicated interest in reviewing and possibly overturning the Brown ruling. While Friday's action did not do so, it created a new vehicle for the board to do so. And further, it means that the U.A.W. may also proceed with other arguments it has made, to date not given a full hearing, that the graduate teaching assistants at Columbia and the New School are sufficiently different from those at Brown in 2004 that they should be given collective bargaining rights even if the Brown decision is not reversed.

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