The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 3rd, 2015
A regional official of the National Labor Relations Board has held
that New School students who work as graduate teaching or research
assistants are ineligible to unionize as employees.
Students attempting to organize a union there had expressed hope that
the institution’s opposition to their unionization would soften in the
wake of a labor accord at nearby New York University, which abandoned its own fight against the unionization of graduate students in 2013 and in March agreed to a contract hailed by labor organizers.
The end of the labor conflict at NYU, however, had the effect of
bringing an end to a battle before the NLRB that represented the best
chance of overturning a board precedent seen as preventing the
unionization of graduate students, a 2004 decision involving teaching assistants at Brown University.
In a decision
handed down on Thursday, Karen P. Fernbach, a regional director in the
NLRB’s New York City office, said she remained constrained by the Brown
decision’s holding that graduate teaching assistants at private
universities are primarily students, not employees, and therefore are
not covered by federal labor law.